PEF-DEC LABOR MANAGEMENT Minutes

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STATEWIDE PEF/NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION LABOR/MANAGEMENT MEETING MINUTES

December 8, 2011

Attendance:

 

PEF:

Chris Spies, Region 1

George Stadnik, Region 2 Regional LM Co-Chair

Keith Browne, Region 3

Joseph Battista, Region 3

Christopher OíNeill, Region 4

Kristofer Alberga, Region 5

Terry Tyoe, Region 6

Frank Flack, Region 6

John Clancy, Region 7

James Sacco, Region 9

Wayne Bayer, Albany

Holly Clark, Albany

William Wurster, Albany

Antoinette Norfleet, Albany LM Co-Chair

Denise Hobson, Albany

Rob McDonough, Albany

Catherine Hardison, Albany

Bruce Giddings, Albany

Kuldeep Gupta, Albany

Timothy LeBarron, Albany

Ed Bradley, PEF

Sharon Edwards, PEF [Minutes]

 

Management:

Mark Cadrette, DEC Director of Employee Relations, Health & Safety Unit

Marline Agnew, DEC Director of Personnel

Juan Abadia, DEC Affirmative Action Officer

Nancy Lussier, Director of Management & Budget

Theresa Flynn, DEC Employee Relations

Alison Crocker, DEC General Counsel

Nina White, DEC Employee Relations [Minutes]

 

PEF's questions and statements are in bold faced type.

Managementís responses are in italics.

 

 

PEF Labor Management Committee Issues

 

PEF would like to set a schedule for timely review and approval of LM minutes.

 

Managementís response: Management agrees and inquires if it is the unionís request to return back to the original format. The June minutes have not yet been signed; in the past once agreed, finalized minutes would be posted and then sent out. Management received an agenda for the June meeting the morning of.  Management would like to be able to have sufficient time to prepare for agenda items; two weeks would be sufficient time. Anything that can be done to start that process earlier would be helpful.  

 

The proposed dates for the next year of L/M meetings is March 22, June 28, September 13 Regional Office, (Region 3) December 13, 2012?

 

Managementís response: Management will confirm.

 

Budget for DEC

 

Backfills

 

Specifically an Environmental Chemist position in Region 9, will that position be back filled & will the preferred list be used from the 2010 RIF?

 

Managementís response: Management is not sure if there is a waiver pending. If there is a preferred list in existence, Management will definitely use that.  It goes by seniority, if a waiver is submitted then that will work.

 

Can DEC achieve it's targets for $ and body reductions by attrition, if not, why not?

 

Managementís response: Management hopes that it can meet its current authorized fill level and that any reductions will be achieved through attrition.

 

Directives regarding layoffs are being reported in the news media. What has DEC been directed to do, if anything, regarding force reductions and budget cuts?

 

Managementís response: Management is not looking at any additional Department cuts this year.  The Department has not received direction to cut back on anything.

 

 Is the Department prepared to hire the necessary professionals in the event that horizontal fracking for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale is permitted through the pending SDGEIS? The appropriate oversight for this activity will not be possible at the current staffing levels of the DEC without substantially compromising other programs.

 

Managementís response: The Department is currently working on the SDGEIS and, the process is well underway.  The Department is on record as indicating that additional staff will be necessary to oversee hydrofracking. Whether the Agency will be allowed to hire new staff this year will not be known until the Executive budget is released.

 

DOB Bulletin D-1124 was issued November 1, 2001. This Bulletin re-established a minimum agency VRWS participation target of 7% and that agencies should ďAggressively promote the VRWS program among employees.Ē What is DECís current level of participation? What is DEC Management doing to promote the VRWS program?

 

Managementís response: Weíre currently over 4% percent.  We are not denying anyone and Management requests that it be alerted if Labor hears of anyone being denied.  A disapproved application is still supposed to come to Management.  Managementís goal is to do everything to encourage and approve it.  PEF requests that a broadcast e-mail be sent to encourage participation in the program.  It was agreed that this item be dropped from the agenda.

 

The Compressed Pay Period Management & Budget Services In-Site webpage states that ďThe Departmentís pilot program and guidelines will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that they meet agency operational and programmatic needs.Ē PEF/Encon would like to see the results of these reviews.

 

Managementís response: The review is on going and informal. Management has not heard from Executive that they want to end the program by 3/31/12; if the agency wants to extend the program, Nancy will notify employees. 

 

Radio Issues

 

The changes regarding DEC dispatch have raised concerns among non-DLE personnel that use this facility. What is being done to address concerns? PEF requests that no staff should go out without communication.

 

Managementís response: Ray Brook dispatch has not closed.  Specific issues related to the radio dispatch center need to be forwarded to Management so that they can be addressed.  Specific issues related to lack of emergency communications have been addressed by Management when brought to Managementís attention.

 

Medical Monitoring

 

The change in the Medical Monitoring system appears to leave all responsibility with employees. While Divisions and Regions may intend to provide for employeeís well-being, their budgets are likely to be as short as the Health and Safety Office. Employees may be placed in the position to undertake unsafe or dangerous tasks with no appropriate training or monitoring of exposures.

 

Managementís response: There have been no changes in the Medical Monitoring policy. This stems from recent communication by DER.  DER is  examining the risk categories as they apply to people to determine if currently assigned categories, as defined by department policy, are accurate.  People may be assigned risk categories that arenít appropriate to what they were doing.  DER has been paying the bills and doing what is appropriate for the situation.  Our motivation is to ensure things are being done correctly, there is no financial motivation driving changes.

                                                                                                                                                                                     

Office Moves

 

PEF inquired about the status of the Alleghany lease.  Is there a plan out there for statewide moves? 

 

Managementís response: Management is not aware of any. OGS coordinates all of these moves. Management will follow-up. The restacking effort is nothing that the Department has any decision making power over. 

 

Diversity

 

Diversity of the workforce includes age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or marital status.  How does DEC propose to increase diversity?

 

Management wants to present training to promote diversity.  DEC has no problem when it comes to diversity. The problem is proportional representation. The whole belief needs to be changed.  NYS Human Resources can do extraordinary things; we need Labor to attend meetings and be represented.

 

PEF remarked and inquired about the agenda items for the meeting? Itís been advocated for years, we have been willing to participate and to help and assist that is why it is a surprise to us that it is going to be training.

 

Management stated it is a preview of the proposed training.  Management desires feedback and is trying to get an effort started. 

 

PEF asked how are we doing on 55cís?

 

Management revealed loss of several 55cís; they can be hired without a waiver, but still counts against the fill level number.  Also they have to be entry level positions.

 

Has DEC Legal completed review of this plan?

 

PEF requests copy of the most recent annual report.

 

Managementís response: The Affirmative Action policy is currently under review by the Legal Office. The annual report was previously provided.

 

Promotional Ladders

           

Did Civil service approve DECís request that the examination for Biologist 1 be a ďRating of Training & ExperienceĒ?

 

Managementís response: Civil Service approved the format for T&E for Biologist 1. We need to work with them for the scale; they are currently looking at late next spring for the exam.  Civil Service will determine how Biologists 2 and 3 will be tested. Written tests are being prepared as a replacement.  If the exam was already announced, they continue to use the battery, until the next exam is announced. The Information Technology is still pending.

 

How many DEC positions are currently filled?

 

Managementís response: 2978 FTE paid positions;

 

 

Did DEC fill all waivers?

 

            Management's response: No

 

Interns

 

Management's response: Currently there is no official intern program; the number of volunteers fluctuates daily.

 

Vehicles

 

What is the status of the Spill Response vehicle plan? Staff was told that the new strategy for the spill response vehicles will go into effect December 1, 2011. Region 6 staff was told that Management wanted to take away Standby vehicles from their homes. This is a violation of DECís current vehicle policy.

 

Managementís response: The Department has approval for 40 additional vehicles, 14 of which will be assigned to Law Enforcement. 

 

Status of new vehicle acquisition and specialty vehicles like SUVs and 4-wheel drive pickups?

 

Management's response: One Million dollars approved for vehicle purchase, see above for numbers.

 

How does the agency plan on dealing with the lost revenue from the lack of a marine fishing license?

 

Management's response: There will be no federal money available.

 

Hatchery staffing-only 66 positions are filled out of 80.  What is the status?

 

Management's response: The Department has just filled 10 positions there.

 

Plans for Belleayre

 

Management's response: The issue of what, if anything, to do with Belleayre Mt. rests with the Sage Commission.

 

 Information on new garage swipe card activation system a "document demand" from DEC/OGS showing that they researched the safety of installing and activating new gate activation system

 

Managementís response: The garage is operated by OGS.  To date, the swipe card access has not been activated. 

  

Information on the new top level mgmt structure and why who reports to who has/will change

 

Managementís response: An Executive Organization chart will be developed soon.

 

Why there is no freeze on political appointees?

Managementís response: Management asks that this item be dropped from the agenda.

 

Health & Safety

 

Why DEC hasn't put together and given to DOB Health and Safety position papers on the hazards and costs of operating so many vehicles and boat engines beyond their targeted life cycle?

 

 

Managementís response: Operations advocates for vehicle replacements every year. While older vehicles may have increased maintenance costs, it does not mean they are unsafe.  DEC passenger vehicles receive an annual NYS safety inspection.

 

Is the Department proposing changes to the Risk Categories and related Fit Testing and Medical Monitoring for the Medical Monitoring Program? Is the Medical Monitoring Program Department policy or administered by Division?

 

Managementís response: Each Division is responsible for assigning employee risk categories as per OAD 15.   The Office of Employee Relations/H&S Unit then schedule staff for medical monitoring exams based on their risk categories.  There have been no policy changes.

 

Why isnít the Right-to-Know training being offered more?

 

Managementís response: There have been a number of classes offered over the past 6 months.   Approximately 1500 employees have been trained.  Classes will continue to be offered.

 

SIGNED on May 10, 2012 by:

                                                                                                Mark Cadrette

                                                                                                DEC Director of Employee Relations

and                                                                                          Antoinette Norfleet

                                                                                    PEF/ENCON, L/M Co-Chair

                                                                                                            

 

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Updated on November 29, 2016