Village of Bear Lake Anti Discrimination Policy

A reader has asked to see a copy of this Policy.

It can be found in context here and by clicking on this link to a previous posting.



The Village of Bear Lake is a General Law Village, in northwest Michigan, operating under the General Law Village Act 3 of 1895 as amended of the State of Michigan.  Accordingly, the Village of Bear Lake is a body organized to promote the general health, welfare and safety of the public and citizens of the Village of Bear Lake.  The village of Bear Lake serves all people, including minority populations, low income populations, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and those who traverse the Village.  The Village of Bear Lake, recognizes in responsibility to provide fairness and equity in all of its programs, services, and activities, and that it must abide by and enforce federal and state civil rights legislation.   

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is the overarching civil rights law which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, in any program, service or activity that receives federal assistance.  Specifically, Title VI assures that, “No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal assistance.”  Title VI has been broadened by related statutes, regulations and executive orders.  Discrimination based on sex is prohibited by Section 324 of the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which is the enabling legislation of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).  The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 prohibit unfair and inequitable treatment of persons as a result of projects which are undertaken with Federal financial assistance.  The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 clarified the intent of Title VI to include all programs and activities of federal-aid recipients and contractors whether those programs and activities are federally funded or not.    

In addition to statutory authorities, Executive Order 12898, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations,” signed in February of 1994, requires federal agencies to achieve Environmental Justice as part of its mission by identifying disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations.  Environmental Justice initiatives are accomplished by involving the potentially affected public in the development of transportation projects that fit within their communities without sacrificing safety or mobility.  In 1997, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued its DOT Order to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations to summarize and expand upon the requirements of Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice.  Also, Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP),” provides that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin under any program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance. 

As a recipient of federal financial assistance, the Village of Bear Lake must provide access to individuals with limited ability to speak, write, or understand the English language.  The Village of Bear Lake will not restrict an individual in any way from the enjoyment of any advantage or privilege enjoyed by others receiving any service, financial aid, or other benefit under its programs or projects.  Individuals may not be subjected to criteria or methods of administration which cause adverse impact because of their race, color, or national origin, or have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the program because of race, color or national origin.  Therefore, the primary goals and objectives of the Village of Bear Lake’s Title VI Program are:

  1. To assign roles, responsibilities, and procedures for ensuring compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related regulations and directives;
  1. To ensure that people affected by the Village of Bear Lake’s programs and projects receive the services, benefits, and opportunities to which they are entitled without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability;
  1. To prevent discrimination in the Village of Bear Lake’s programs and activities, whether those programs and activities are federally funded or not;
  1. To establish procedures for identifying impacts in any program, service, or activity that may create illegal adverse discrimination on any person because of race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability; or on minority populations, low-income populations, the elderly, and all interested persons and affected Title VI populations;
  1. To establish procedures to annually review Title VI compliance within specific program areas within the Village of Bear Lake;
  1. To set forth procedures for filing and processing complaints by persons who believe they have been subjected to illegal discrimination under Title VI in the Village of Bear Lake’s services, programs or activities.

As a sub-recipient of federal transportation funds, the Village of Bear Lake must comply with federal and state laws, and related statutes, to ensure equal access and opportunity to all persons, with respect to transportation services, facilities, activities, and programs, without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, socio-economic status, or geographical location.  Every effort will be made to prevent discrimination in any program or activity, whether those programs and activities are federally funded or not, as guaranteed by the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987. 

The Village of Bear Lake shall also ensure that their sub-recipients adhere to state and federal law and include in all written agreements or contracts, assurances that the sub-recipient must comply with Title VI and other related statutes.  The Village of Bear Lake, as a sub-recipient who distributes federal transportation funds, shall monitor their sub-recipients for voluntary compliance with Title VI.  In the event that non-compliance is discovered, the Village of Bear Lake will make a good faith effort to ensure that the sub-recipient corrects any deficiencies arising out of complaints related to Title VI; and that sub-recipients will proactively gauge the impacts of any program or activity on minority populations and low-income populations, the elderly, persons with disabilities, all interested persons and affected Title VI populations.

Discrimination under Title VI

There are two types of illegal discrimination prohibited under Title VI and its related statutes.  One type of discrimination which may or may not be intentional is “disparate treatment.”  Disparate treatment is defined as treating similarly situated persons differently because of their race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

The second type of illegal discrimination is “disparate impact.”  Disparate impact discrimination occurs when a “neutral procedure or practice” results in fewer services or benefits, or inferior services or benefits, to members of a protected group.  With disparate impact, the focus is on the consequences of a decision, policy, or practice rather than the intent.

The Village of Bear Lake’s efforts to prevent such discrimination must address, but not be limited to, a program’s impacts, access, benefits, participation, treatment, services, contracting opportunities, training, investigation of complaints, allocation of funds, prioritization of projects, and the overarching functions of planning, project development and delivery, right-of-way, construction, and research.

The Village of Bear Lake has developed this Title VI Plan to assure that services, programs, and activities of the Village of Bear Lake are offered, conducted, and administered fairly, without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability of the participants or beneficiaries of federally funded programs, services, or activities (see Title VI Assurances).



The Village of Bear Lake reaffirms its policy to allow all individuals the opportunity to participate in federal financially assisted services and adopts the following provision:

“No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” In applying this policy, the Village of Bear Lake and its sub-recipients of federal funds shall not:

  1. Deny any individual with any service, opportunity, or other benefit for which such individual is otherwise qualified;
  1. Provide any individual with any service, or other benefit, which is inferior (in quantity or quality) to, or which is provided in a different manner from that which is provided to others;
  1. Subject any individual to segregated or disparate treatment in any manner related to such individual’s receipt of services or benefits;
  1. Restrict an individual in any way from the enjoyment of services, facilities or any other advantage, privilege or other benefit provided to others;
  1. Adopt or use methods of administration, which would limit participation by any group of recipients or subject any individual to discrimination;
  1. Address any individual in a manner that denotes inferiority because of race, color, or national origin;
  1. Permit discriminatory activity in a facility built in whole or in part with federal funds;
  1. Deny any segment of the population the opportunity to participate in the operations of a planning or advisory body that is an integral part of a federally funded program;
  1. Fail to provide information in a language other than English to potential or actual beneficiaries who are of limited English speaking ability, when requested and as appropriate;
  1. Subject an individual to discriminatory employment practices under any federally funded program whose objective is to provide employment;
    1. Locate a facility in any way, which would limit or impede access to a federally-funded service or benefit.
  2. The Village of Bear Lake will actively pursue the prevention of any Title VI deficiencies or violations and will take the necessary steps to ensure compliance. If irregularities occur in the administration of the program’s operation, procedures will be promptly implemented to resolve Title VI issues all within a period not to exceed 90 days.

    The Village of Bear Lake designates Cindi McPherson, Village Clerk as the Title VI Coordinator. The Village Clerk will be responsible for initiating and monitoring Title VI activities and other required matters, ensuring that the Village of Bear Lake complies with the Title VI regulations and pursues prevention of Title VI deficiencies or violations. Inquiries concerning the Village of Bear Lake and Title VI may be directed to the Bear Lake Village Clerk, PO Box 175, Bear Lake, MI 49614; Phone: 231.970.2066; Email:

    ____November 16, 2016___

    Jeff Bair Village President

    Cindi McPherson Clerk/Title VI Coordinator

Thank you for your service …… now prove it.

This is only the second time Bear Lake News has written an Editorial. As the masthead states, we print information not opinion.

On Veterans Day we make this exception.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the most bloody example of human barbarity (to that point in history), World War One, came to and end.

The Village of Bear Lake sent its young men off from the platform of Kaleva railway station to that war, and some never came back from the killing fields of Flanders.

[In Flanders Fields was written by a Canadian officer called John McCrae and is read by poet Michael Rosen.]

The Village has sent it’s share of service men and women to fight and uphold the spirt and principles of democracy in every war and ‘police action’ from the Civil War to this day. From the Grand Army of the Republic Reunion in Hopkins Park to the Rolling Thunder honor rides – we stand and pay tribute to those who serve, fought, were injured, or died defending the self evident principles of our government: for the people, by the people with liberty and justice for all.

For some returning from Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan the wounds are not so evident. Many carry the legacy of psychological or chemical trauma – but without exception they do not complain or define themselves by the horrors they have witnessed. They only ask for fair treatment and respect.

Surely not too much to ask?

Especially on this Veterans Day?

They came back here – to live, build homes, raise families, support the community and paid their taxes each year, every year, on time.

Because that’s how we raise our children here – with honor and integrity. That a debt paid is a credit earned in the life of this, or any, small community. Do unto others.

“We firmly believe in ‘open government’, ‘transparency’, ‘communication’”.

Do we really?

Consider these questions.

When is a ‘public’ document, well, ‘public’?

If a document is ‘public’, which ‘public’ does it belong too?

The one who paid for it to be created?

The one for whom it was created in the first place?

The one it affects, either by regulation or actual cost?

The one who then has the right to contest it?

When do the public have the right to request a ‘public’ document?

Running for Governor of the State of Michigan in 2018, current Attorney General Bill Schuette has this to say in his guide to the OMA_handbook_287134_7:

The Open Meetings Act (OMA) is 1976 PA 267, MCL 15.261 through 15.275. The OMA took effect January 1, 1977. In enacting the OMA, the Legislature promoted a new era in governmental accountability and fostered openness in government to enhance responsible decision making.

Using e-mail to distribute handouts, agenda items, statistical information, or other such material during an open meeting should be permissible under the OMA, particularly when copies of that information are also made available to the public before or during the meeting.

Excluding individuals – no one may be excluded from a meeting otherwise open to the public except for a breach of the peace actually committed at the meeting.

It’s worth looking at the opening preamble of PA 267 of 1976 itself:

Open Meeting Act of 1976

P.A. 267 of 1976

As amended through 2016:

AN ACT to require certain meetings of certain public bodies to be open to the public; to require notice and the keeping of minutes of meetings; to provide for enforcement; to provide for invalidation of governmental decisions under certain circumstances; to provide penalties; and to repeal certain acts and parts of acts.

(3) After the effective date of this act, nothing in this act shall prohibit a public body from adopting an ordinance, resolution, rule, or charter provision which would require a greater degree of openness relative to meetings of public bodies than the standards provided for in this act.

The State of Michigan Legislature published its own guide to the “Sunshine” Laws OpenMtgsFreedom in which the following introduction states:

Dear Citizen,

The ideal of a democratic government is too often thwarted by bureaucratic secrecy and unresponsive officials. Citizens frequently find it difficult to discover what decisions are being made and what facts lie behind those decisions.

The Michigan Freedom of Information Act, Public Act No. 442 of 1976, establishes procedures to ensure every citizen’s right of access to government documents. The Act establishes the right to inspect and receive copies of records of state and local government bodies.

The Open Meetings Act, Public Act No. 267 of 1976, protects your right to know what’s going on in government by opening to full public view the processes by which elected and nonelected officials make decisions on your behalf.

This guide to the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act is designed to make it easier for citizens to keep track of what their government is doing.

“designed to make it easier for citizens to keep track of what their government is doing.”

The Open Meetings Act was amended in 2012 to require the inclusion of this language to all Village of Bear Lake meeting notices:

Persons with disabilities needing accommodations for effective participation in the public hearing/public meeting should contact the Bear Lake Village Clerk at 231.970.2066 or at the above address one week in advance to request mobility, visual, hearing, or other assistance. 
Cindi McPherson Village Clerk

Any member of the ‘public’ is legally entitled to reasonable accommodation, to have the same ability to be an active participant in the business of their own government as if they were physically able to be present.

A reasonable accommodation would be a copy of the Meeting Agenda, the previous draft Minutes, the financial reports, any document of importance to be reviewed and discussed in the open public meeting – a facility easily afforded by many municipalities who simply post all that to their web site as the Meeting packet. A one time, cost saving, time saving ‘public’ service.

Which leads to our closing question – when a veteran makes a request to attend via telephone conference, can a FOIA request be required to receive those ‘public’ documents every other member of the public in attendance can simply walk up to the table and pick up for themselves?

Should a veteran be required to pay again in advance to receive the public documents his tax dollars have already paid for?

Should any unit of government spend his, and your, tax dollars for your municipal attorney to write a 9 page letter TitleVIFOIA1161706112017 (1) asking that veteran to prove his disability? (and send that same letter to others asking for the same reasonable accommodation)

Why, in good conscience would any municipality of 137 households do that?

Thank you for your service.

Village Council Meeting October 18, 2017

Please bookmark this link – the conference connection for the meeting yesterday was poor and our volunteer has sent their recording for audio reformatting.

A microphone was given to the Village Council but was not accepted.

No Agenda or meeting documents were received by a subscriber who had requested such assistance on multiple occasions.

When the recording is somewhat audible it will be posted here.

If you would like to add your name to those requesting assistance to attend add it here.

Village Council meets tonight, Wednesday September 20 at 7pm.

We regret we are unable to provide tonight’s Agenda, August 23rd Draft Minutes or any business documents as in spite of numerous requests by multiple individuals under both – the Open Meetings Act (OMA) is 1976 PA 267, MCL 15.261 through 15.275 and the Village’s Title VI Policy none have been received.

Multiple requests have been made to confirm the reasonable access to attend the meeting via Conference Call, we can’t confirm this service will be available at:

Time: 5 minutes before 7pm
Phone number:1.302.202.1107 (this maybe a long distance call with charges for some – in which case we suggest calling in via Skype or Google VOIP service)
Conference Code: 149002
Please observe the Meeting protocols.
NOTE: The following was received at 2.25pm
No Minutes are available for the August 23, Special Meeting.
Should a Village Resident be required to pay a fee to FOIA their own Meeting Agendas?
From: Cindi McPherson, Clerk
Attached is the agenda that will be used for tonights village council meeting.

I am sending this as a one time courtesy email, from here on a FOIA subscription for 6 months would need to be made.  Note; there could possibly be a fee when requesting documents.  The FOIA form can be found on the village website, please be specific as to which meetings you would like information from on a monthly basis.
Please understand when you are requesting documents there could be a charge that needs to be paid in advance.
We have a conference call-in number where you can listen to the village council meeting.  Note: there could be a cost for this call by your carrier.
Conference call-in number: 1.302.202.1107  Conference code: 149002  Please mute your line once you are in.
You do not need to ask for this information monthly, it is always the same.  Conference number information will be on our website soon.
The August meeting minutes are not on our website as they have not been approved.
If anyone has ADA disability requirements you must contact the village clerk directly so we can assist you.
Thank you for contacting Bear Lake Village Office.

Village of Bear Lake Council Meeting

September 20, 2017
7:00 p.m. – Village Hall





PUBLIC COMMENT: Any agenda item ONLY (two (2)-minute maximum)

Note: Members of the public will speak only when recognized by the chair person.




  • Regular Meeting August 15, 2017



  • Approval of Treasurer’s Report
  • Amendments:




  • PARK:
    • Tree purchase – Schroeder
  • WATER:
    • Water Ordinance – held from June meeting
    • Plow Truck Grant
    • CABA :
    • Blight Enforcement Officer report:
  • AD HOC COMMITTEE: Policy, Resolution & Ordinance Committee – No report


  • Appointment of elected positions; clerk & treasurer
  • Village Christmas lights, banners & old wreaths


Follow up on items from August’s council meeting:

PUBLIC COMMENT: General Time – Any Village-related item (two (2)-minute maximum)

Note: Members of the public will speak only when recognized by the chair person.

Items on agenda or not listed


  • Church dinner



WAGES August 2017 Amounts

Water Fund 591-000-702 $327.00

Park Fund 531-000-702 $1,477.00

Major Fund 202-463-702 $40.50

Minor Fund 203-463-702 $36.00

TOTAL $1880.50

EQUIPMENT RENTAL August 2017 Amounts

Water Fund 591-558-943 $223.49

Major Fund 202-463-943 $380.88

Minor Fund 203-463-943 $326.46

TOTAL $930.83

No Village Council recording tonight

Our apologies – the Village did not activate its conference line. If you tried to call in and got no response please let us know?

A noise cancelling microphone had been donated and delivered to the Village Treasurer today.

On Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 3:38 PM, Cindi McPherson, Clerk <> wrote:

There is no meeting at 6:30pm this evening.

I have no dates, times or locations of meeting nor any minutes for the sewer meetings..
If and when I do receive those I will add them to the calendar. I am not sure how the minutes will be shared.
We will not be using the device you dropped off as we use our office phone for the call in.
You can pick it up during regular business hours
From: “Cindi McPherson, Clerk” <>
Date: August 16, 2017 at 5:36:51 PM EDT
Subject: Re: Bear Lake council meet Aug 16, 2017

We have provide reasonable accommodations; a phone call-in service with our office phone (as your group has requested) for individuals to call in.  The phone is placed in the center of the table.  There are not emails or texts coming through but possibly other individuals calling in that gives a tone.

And as you stated the 302 area code is for conference calls, just a reminder, some calls could be charged.

Cindi McPherson, Clerk

Changes to FOIA policy

The reasonable rights of residents to ask and receive information about how their local government expends their taxes would seem to be a given.

In the majority of local governments, open and transparent 2 way communication between the elected and those who elected them is seen as both a public responsibility of service.

At the July meeting the following was enacted:

  • FOIA Detailed Cost Itemization/FOIA Policy & Summary
  •  A motion was made to change the wording from 15 minutes to one (1) minute increments (where it applies) when charging for a FOIA request for Labor Cost, by Bass, seconded by Johnson. Motion carried.

Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson Ronning, Bair

Nay: none

Absent: Schroeder

  • Second motion to FOIA Detailed Cost Itemization/FOIA Policy & Summary o A motion was made to start new price change immediately on FOIA Detailed Cost Itemization by Bass, seconded by Johnson. Motion Carried.

Aye: Bass, Evans, Johnson, McPherson, Ronning, Bair

Nay: none

Absent: Schroeder

Although the audio recording is poor, a proviso was made to have a legal opinion on this matter before instituting.

This cost itemization is now published to the Village web site.


Village of Bear Lake: Conference callin service established

Bear Lake Village Council meetings may now be accessed via telephone conference call.

Date:Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Phone number:1.302.202.1107 (this maybe a long distance call with charges for some – in which case we suggest calling in via Skype or Google VOIP service)
Conference Code: 149002
Please observe the Meeting protocols.