PEF-DEC LABOR MANAGEMENT Minutes

(Click Here for Adobe Version of This Page)

Return to LM Page


 

 

STATEWIDE PEF/NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL

CONSERVATION LABOR/MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE MINUTES

June 16, 2011

Attendance:

 

PEF:

Karl Berger, LM Chair

Antoinette Norfleet, Albany LM Co-Chair

Chris Spies, Region 1

George Stadnik, Region 2 LM Regional Co-Chair

Keith Browne, Region 3

Joseph Battista, Region 3

Andy Marccucio, Region 4

Christopher OíNeill, Region 4

Kristofer Alberga, Region 5

Terry Tyoe, Region 6

Frank Flack, Region 6

James Sacco, Region 9

Wayne Bayer, Albany

Holly Clark, Albany

Mike Kanuk, SUNY-East

Tim LeBarron, Albany

Stacey McLea, PEF Albany Legal/Mentee

Denise Hobson, Albany

Kuldeep Gupta, Albany

Ed Bradley, PEF

 

Management:

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

Alison Crocker, Deputy Counsel

Marline Agnew, DEC Director of Personnel

Nancy Lussier, Director of Management & Budget

Theresa Flynn, DEC Employee Relations

Anne Reynolds, Assistant Commissioner for Policy & Planning

Juan Abadia, Affirmative Action Officer

Nina White, DEC Employee Relations [Minutes]

 

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

Managementís responses are in italics.

 

1.               DEC Dispatch Radio Issues

 

           PEF: There have been continued concerns raised by non-DLE users of the radio system related to the reliability of the system and the future closure of the Ray Brook Dispatch Center.

 

            Managementís response: The Department recognizes the need to have reliable radio communications.  Division of Law Enforcement needs to know about specific concerns and alleged failures to properly address them.  They are willing to deal with issues on a case-to-case basis. Ray Brook Dispatch will remain open until there is confidence that Albany Dispatch is fully operational. PEF agreed to provide a list of specific issues.

 

 

2.      PEF Labor Management Committee Issues

 

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

 

Mangementís response:  Management agreed and suggested using the notes from PEF.  No one from PEF was here today taking minutes, but PEF indicated that on 10/6/11 someone will be taking minutes.  Management  suggested that it is PEFís turn to take minutes since the Office of Employee Relations has been doing it for 13 years now.  PEF agreed .

 

b.      The proposed date for the next year of L/M meetings are 10/6/11, 12/8/11 and 3/8/12

 

Managementís response: Agreed.

 

3.         Budget

 

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

 

            Managementís response: The loss is approximately two million dollars.  The loss will be offset my moving money from the General Fund.

 

4.      Layoffs 

a.      PEF: 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 cannot speculate on this at this time.  It is hoped that we can meet any reductions in staff through attrition.

 

b.      PEF: Can DEC achieve its targets for budget and staff reductions through attrition; if not, why?

 

Managementís response: As stated earlier, the Department hopes to make their budget through attrition, not layoffs.

 

5.               Position Information

a.      PEF: How many DEC positions are currently filled?

 

Managementís response: 2,982.

 

b.                  PEF: Backfills/Waivers Statusó

 

Managementís response: Weíre continuing to provide approved waivers to PEF.  We are also continuing to submit waivers for approval.  There are some waivers that are active in the system now but until they are approved by DOB, nothing can happen. 

 

c.       Low Hatchery Staffing Level

 

PEF: Hatchery staffing-only 66 positions are filled out of 80.  What is being done to correct this situation?  Why post if waivers did not go through?  Is DEC unique in trying to hire people when other agencies are getting rid of people?

 

Managementís response: Management recognizes this, so the Department is trying to get waivers approved.  They are being processed Ėthe goal is to increase the capacity of the hatchery system. We recently submitted 46 Department waivers for approval.   Update: the Department has recently received several approved waivers for Fish Culturalists.

 

d.      Marcellus Shale

 

PEF: 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 Departmentís position has been to issue the permits as quickly as we can with the number of people we have.  It has been anticipated that 20 positions will be needed ónot all positions will be in Minerals. 

 

e.      Top-level Management Structure

PEF:  Information on the new top level Management structure and who reports to who has/will change?  Any date?

    

            Managementís response: The organizational chart is not finished yet.

 

 

f.        Political Appointees

PEF: Why there is no freeze on political appointees?  Will the Department be getting an Executive Deputy soon?

    

          Managementís response: A handful of people should/will likely be hired but we donít have any details yet.    Update: The Department has since appointed Marc Gerstman as Executive Deputy Commissioner.

 

6.               Diversity

PEF: 

a.      Annual report - PEF Requests the most recent annual report

 

            Managementís response:  Management provided a copy of the report to PEF.  This report was submitted to Civil Service

 

PEF: How does DEC propose to increase diversity?

 

            Managementís response: The plan to increase diversity is detailed in the report.

 

c.      PEF: Has DEC Legal completed review of the Affirmative Action plan?

 

      Managementís response: No, not yet.

 

7.               Office Moves

a.      SUNY East Relocation Ė

PEF: Where is DEC planning to relocate the DEC SUNY East labs? 

 

            Managementís response: Nothing has been decided relative to SUNY East. In general, OGS continues to analyze our space usage to determine if its being utilized properly. This includes our space at 625 Broadway.

 

b.      Plans for Belleayre 

PEF: Plans for Belleayre

 

            Managementís response: Any recommendation related to Belleayre would likely come from the Sage Commission.

 

8.               Medical Monitoring

PEF: 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:  This was discussed at the last L/M meeting.  To date, there have been no changes in the program other than how it gets paid for. Management agreed that it would be a good idea if regional offices provided tools for tick identification (like mirrors).

 

Update: PEF agreed to keep this agenda item on the Statewide Health and Safety Committee agenda so it did not need to continue to be discussed in this forum.

 

9.               Personnel

 

a.      PEF: Did Fish & Wildlife develop justifications for individual Natural Resources titles to be reclassified for parity with Environmental Quality?

 

            Managementís response:  The package that was prepared by FWMR and L&F and had been pending with Jack McKeon was provided to Frank Flack by Marline Agnew in October of 2010.  This package included salary comparisons, duties descriptions and justifications. 

 

b.      PEF: Did Civil Service approve Biologist 1 exam to be a ďTraining & ExperienceĒ exam? 

 

            Managementís response: Civil Service approved the format for T&E for Biologist 1 and this process has been in place for some time, although due to hiring freeze the exam was suspended.  The Biologist 2 & 3 exam process is currently a written examination with a profile component similar to the Engineer 3 & 4 examination process.  Personnel reviews what managers send them and following that CS reviews.  CS will send them back if they feel there is an issue/discrepancy.  The issue is programs submit duties descriptions and as long as the profile matches the description provided, there is nothing more to look at.  It is a review for legality in the process.  CS is reviewing the whole process for Biologist 2 & 3; attorney exams are suffering as well.

 

c.       Interns

 

PEF: Interns - What is the policy related to the hiring of Interns ?  How is nepotism discouraged?

 

            Managementís response: The Department does not have a formalized intern program; however, we try to facilitate between programs and applicants looking for internship.  Seasonal notifications are on a  first-come, first-serve basis.  The Department will accept resumes from students, retirees, teachers but has to come directly from the person, not from a relative who works for the Department.  Personnel has no involvement with internal hiring of interns within the Divisions only hourly, non-field positions, come through Personnel.  We place a heavy emphasis on diversity hiring with seasonal/hourly appointments, particularly now that there is so little other Departmental hiring.  For example, if the Department has ten openings for seasonal office help, it is likely five of those will be automatically filled with diversity placement candidates.

 

There are no paid intern titles on the payroll.  Interns we have are volunteers.  Sometimes programs will hire seasonal employees and call them Interns.  When programs deal directly with schools for internships, they are typically done via an MOU with the school. 

 

10.           Vehicle Acquisition Status

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

Management's response: Operations is currently soliciting requests from Regions and Programs based on an anticipated funding level.  As of this date, we do not have any specifics on what will be requested.  The Department was allocated a million dollars for new vehicles for this year which will allow for the purchase of approximately 30 vehicles.

Garage Gate Activation System

PEF: PEF expressed concern about the safety of installing and activating new gate activation system at 625 Broadway.    There are concerns about the contingency plans, especially in the winter time when traffic gets backed up. PEF believes this is a dangerous situation.

Managementís response: Identical systems are currently in place throughout the OGS garage network and they expect it to operate safely for responsible drivers and pedestrians.  OGS has verbally committed to closely monitor this specific application during its initial start-up. 

11.  Health & Safety 

a.      Hazards/costs of operating vehicles/boat engines beyond targeted life cycle

PEF:  Why hasnít DEC  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:   Because the vehicle fleet are centrally managed, Everett has addressed concern to upper Management over the aging vehicle fleet and the added cost associated with it.  Vehicles that have exceeded their life expectancy normally become less reliable, but they are not necessarily hazardous or unsafe.  Annual vehicle inspections provide the opportunity to determine if a vehicle is safe, and if it is not, it is removed from service.  

 

Concerning boat engines: they are not centrally managed, therefore it is up to the using Divisions to determine when they are in need of replacement. 

 

 

12.  Employee Dispute Mediation (DEC Management Item)

 

Management is exploring the possibility of establishing an Employee Dispute Mediation Service. The hope is that offering such a service would allow employees an opportunity to work differences in a less formal manner.

 

PEF Response:

 

13.  Supervisor Support Initiative  (DEC Management Item)

 

Management is creating an intranet page so supervisors can get access to various Department guidance documents related to supervision all in one place. This site would be helpful in teaching supervisors what is expected of them in supervising employees, in preparing Performance Evaluations and in writing counseling memos.

 

PEF Response:  PEF thinks this is a great idea.  Supervisors need hands-on material to help them, not abstract ideas that are difficult to put into practice.

 

14.  PERC/Telecommuting

Compressed Pay Period Program (CPP): PEF would like to know the number of employees who are in the program and how many were denied.  PEF would also like a Telecommuting Program approved for the Department and wanted to know the procedures and who they needed to go through to accomplish this. PEF also wants to know how many employees are participating in the Voluntary Reduction Work Schedule (VRWS) program, how many participate in it and who were denied.

 

            Managementís response:  The Departmentís CPP is approved through March 2012. Denials are not tracked. 

 

Usually 99 percent of the employees who apply for VRWS get approved.  Management is not aware of any specific employees being denied and requests that PEF provide a list of its members who applied for VRWS but were not allowed to participate.

 

 SIGNED on Feb. 6, 2012 by:

                                                                                                Mark Cadrette

                                                                                                DEC Director of Employee Relations

and                                                                                          Antoinette Norfleet

                                                                                                PEF/ENCON, L/M Co-Chair

 

Return to LM Page

Updated on November 29, 2016