PEF/NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION LABOR/MANAGEMENT REPORT

March 14, 2002

Attendance:

PEF:

David Persson, LM Chair

Karl Berger, Albany LM Co-Chair

George Stadnik, Region 1

Hassan Hussein, Region 2

Keith Browne, Region 3

Richard Grebe, Region 5

Terry Tyoe, Region 6 Utica

Frank Flack, Region 6 Watertown

Steve Perrigo, Region 7

James Kersten, Region 9

Kevin Hintz, Region 9

Don Johnson, Albany

Mike Keenan, Albany

Wayne Bayer, Albany

Kuldeep Gupta, Albany

Mike Kanuk, SUNYE

William Wurster, Albany

Jim Hair, PEF Field Representative

Management:

Joseph Lattanzio, DEC Director of Employee Relations

Richard Randles, DEC Director of Management & Budget

Nancy Lussier, DEC Budget Services

Carole LaVigna, DEC Acting Director of Personnel

Jim Austin, DEC Environmental Quality/Monitors

Bob Warland, DEC Director of Division of Air

Richard Gibbs, DEC Division of Air

Mike Turley, DEC Director of Operations

Mike O= Toole, DEC Director of Environmental Remediation

Jean Edouard, DEC Director of Health & Safety

Gail Balluff, DEC Employee Relations

Carl Gonzalez, DEC Employee Relations

Marie Furlong, DEC Employee Relations

Guest Rani Findlay, Cornell University, NYS School of Industrial and Labor Relations

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

Management= s responses are in italics.

The Labor/Management Memorandum of Agreement contains a goal to prepare the minutes within three (3) weeks after the meeting. PEF/EnCon needs the draft minutes immediately following the meeting to expedite the process.

Management= s response: Management agrees to provide a first draft (via GroupWise) to PEF the day following the meeting. However, Management requests earlier submission of the proposed agenda to allow for additional preparation time which should result in a more comprehensive first draft response. When minutes are finalized, Management will notify all DEC employees (via GroupWise) that the minutes are available for review on the Employee Relations website. A direct web link will also be included. PEF Chief Stewards will receive the minutes under separate cover.

***

PEF and DEC Management representatives jointly acknowledged the efforts of DEC= s retiring Director of Office Services, Dave Keegan. Dave is retiring after 33 years of service. His presence on the Committee will be missed.

***

I. New Business:

1. Budget

Has DOB asked DEC to achieve additional savings in it= s budget beyond savings obtained through attrition, early retirement, hiring freezes, and restricted non-personal services spending? How will DEC achieve the additional savings?

Management= s response: At this point, we have not been asked to do anything additional. We are currently under an extremely hard hiring freeze. No DOB plan exists for additional savings.

What was the impact of the 30 day amendments to the Executive Budget?

Management= s response: There was no financial impactB no cuts or added resources.

How will monitors at Superfund and MGP sites be funded? How will DER absorb new mandates in Superfund program and expanding voluntary cleanup program with existing staff?

Management= s response: Superfund and MGP are independent of monitors. Monitors are undergoing extensive review. A work group formed in November will present a report to the Commissioner within a month or so. It is not known if MGP sites will be using monitors at the worksite. Depending on the scope of the sites, there will be an increased workload for the program.

Superfund positions had previously been budgeted as part of the State Operations Budget, under the program schedule for Solid & Hazardous Waste Management. The 2002-03 recommendation includes these positions in their entirety, as part of the new Capital Budget line for Solid & Hazardous Waste ManagementB the hazardous Waste Remedial Fund, Hazardous Waste Cleanup Account. The budget appropriation language specifically states that this recommended appropriation will be "...in accordance with provisions of a chapter of the laws of 2002..."

Will the Department= s license fees set by regulation sustain Conservation Fund program capability in 2001-02 and address the $2.5 million SFY 2002-03 deficit and the projected $15.5 million SFY 2004-05 deficit? What is the contingency plan for SFY 2001-2002 SFY 2002-2003 without the $5.3 million deficiency appropriation?

Management= s response: The license fees will be planned to maintain levels. The difference in this bill is that we are no longer proposing that the fees be promulgated by regulation. The fee schedule will be in the legislation. We have confidence the Article 7 will pass. We aren= t looking at these positions as being at risk. The Executive Budget also includes a General Fund current year deficiency proposal of $5.3 million to put cash in the Conservation Fund to cover the immediate cash shortfall.

When the DECALS automated license sales is implemented in July 2002, which regional offices and suboffices will start issuing licenses again?

Management= s response: There is no current plan to start reissuing licenses in the regional offices. The new DECALS program (automated system) will have to be in place before the 625 Broadway office is ready to operate. Pilot program will begin in mid-March.

How will DEC fund the Open Space, Waterfront Revitalization, and Natural Resource Damage Assessment Accounts after March 31, 2002? How will the EPF funded purchase of open space/wilderness lands, recycling and solid waste capital projects, water quality protection, farmland preservation, wildlife protection and the stewardship of state lands and recreational facilities continue? Is language authorizing the EPF to fund positions actually the recommended in the appropriation bill?

Management= s response: The budget proposes two pieces of funding to keep the flow of money to the programs from being interruptedB a 2001-02 deficiency item for $125 million and a 2002-03 recommendation for $125 million. Both the 2001-02 deficiency and the 2002-03 budget proposal continue the policy of no positions to be funded by the EPF.

What is the status of the additional 28,000 square feet at the New Paltz office? Has the Office of the State Comptroller completed final review and approval of the documents for the A/E contract award to Stein White Nelligan? Is the schedule to complete design and award construction projects still late Spring 2002? The approved budget for this fiscal year included $3.46 million in new funding and the $1 million funding from last fiscal year was reappropriated. What is the status of an additional $2.5 million in funding for fiscal year 2002-2003?

When will management engage in meaningful discussions for PS&T unit members in the context of a Joint Labor/Management Quality of Worklife Committee, which shall make recommendations to the Regional Director?

Management= s response: OSC approved the A/E contract on 2/13/02. Due to the late award, the schedule to complete design and to award construction projects has been pushed back until Fall 2002. The Governor= s 2002-03 Executive Budget Recommendations included $2.5 million in additional funding for the project.

The Regional Director has previously committed to the concept of forming a group to communicate information to employees in the region. Management suggested PEF contact the Regional Director to initiate committee formation.

Has DEC received and distributed all the vehicles approved in SFY 2001-2002?

Management= s response: No. 201 vehicles have been approved and procurement actions are currently underway; however, receipt and distribution is not expected until this Summer or Fall. This is not an issue but rather an ongoing action. Management recommends this item be permanently dropped from the agenda since the budgeting for vehicle replacements has been resolved.

Has the Department specified a hybrid vehicle for purchase?

Management= s response: Yes: one Toyota Prius and two Honda Civic hybrid vehicles are being procured this year. Region 1 will be receiving one of the Honda Civics and the other two hybrid vehicles will become part of the Central Office Pool. Management recommends this be dropped from the agenda.

What is the cost of contracting-out the writing of the Whitney-Lake Lila Unit Management Plans?

Management= s response: This particular procurement has not yet been completed.

2. Staffing

Please provide:

Work Force Management PlanB Program Analysis for FY 01-02, FY 02-03 and FY 03-04.

Management= s response: This is a work in progress. The Department will provide information to Civil Service by early April. Civil Service will compile the report and publish it statewide.

Anticipated programmatic/organizational changes(s) and the impact that the change will have on the number of employees by title and their required skill level, e.g. Bond Act positions.

Management= s response: Same as the response to the Workforce Management Plan question. Management did state that approximately 40 positions are funded by the Bond Act. Money for these positions is reserved to cover their cost.

Anticipated technological changes and their impact on the number of employees and their required skills.

Management= s response: Same as the response to the Workforce Management Plan question.

Anticipated changes in the current workforce due to attrition, e.g. Environmental Engineers.

Management= s response: Same as the response to the Workforce Management Plan question.

What promotional exams are being planned with Civil Service?

Management= s response: Management is working with Civil Service on a tentative schedule for a number of DEC-related promotion exams for the upcoming year. We do not have any information to release at this time. Future information will be posted on the Civil Service website.

Is DEC planning any title consolidations?

Management= s response: No.

How many employees, by title and Region, are eligible to retire within five (5) years?

Management= s response: Management is currently in the process of developing a succession planning program. Not unlike the overall Statewide situation, 35% of the DEC workforce is currently age 50 or older.

Will DEC apply to the Task Force on State Work Force Management and Employee Deployment to eliminate targeted positions through the Early Retirement Incentive?

Management= s response: We haven= t gotten instructions on how it will work; therefore, we do not have a position on this issue at this time. If similar to what was offered previously, it is highly unlikely DEC will participate.

What titles has DEC targeted into which employees affected by layoff can be transferred or reassigned?

Management= s response: We haven= t targeted any titles at this time.

How many of the 429 vacant PS&T positions on the DEC roster circa February > 02 will not be backfilled due to the hiring freeze? How many DEC waiver requests has DOB approved?

Management= s response: We continue to refill jobs based on whether they are health and safety related or if the positions are revenue generating in nature. As of 10/17 /01any waivers previously approved were rescinded. Since then, we have received approximately 50 waiver approvals for annual salaried positions and several hundred approvals for hourly positions for Belleayre, Operations and other Department programs.

Will DEC meet with PEF to discuss work responsibilities for master professional titles of Biologist, Chemist, Engineering Geologist, Environmental Analyst, Environmental Engineer, and Environmental Program Specialist and the knowledge, skills, and abilities to assess the competence of people to be chosen for them?

Management= s response: Management has met with PEF to identify titles for development of parallel career tracts. PEF and Management to meet again.

When will Management request that Civil Service increase hiring rate for Biologist I (Marine), Bacteriologist (Marine), and Senior Bacteriologist (Marine)?

Management= s response: Management is working with the Program work group to gather information to support such a request to Civil Service.

Is the Professional Compensation Work Group a joint L/M subcommittee to support salary grade parity between the career ladders of the Natural Resources and Quality divisions?

Management= s response: The Division of Fish, Wildlife & Marine Resources has formed a Professional Compensation Work Group; however, it is not a joint labor/management subcommittee at this time. Employee Relations to follow up and report back.

Has Region 4 filed an exemption request for the Supervisor of Natural Resources position, Item No. 09403?

Management= s response: R-4 did send a request to the Central Office, but funding has not been identified to fill the position.

The Quality Assurance Assistant position for development, management, review, and approval of Quality Assurance Plans and Standard Operating Procedures in the Division of Water funded through the non-profit New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC). Why is DEC contracting out for the Civil Service title of an Environmental Chemist, in lieu of DEC staff?

The other job listing by this organization to work in the Region 3 office is an already existing Civil Service title of Coastal Program Specialist( advertised as Coastal Training Specialist).

Management= s response: We disagree that this is contracting out. The Division of Water has grants and sometimes utilizes NEIWPCC. Management to follow up.

DEC facilities have non-DEC employees performing work similar to and/or equivalent to the functions described by PS&T Civil Service titles. Examples that PEF is currently aware of include natural Heritage Trust, various computer contractors, NEIWPCC, SUNY, etc. PEF requests a listing of all these situations. The listing should include company and/or institution; number of employees; location, title and salary and function. PEF explained that not only does this diminish the career opportunities of DEC employees but, due to the possibility of job losses in future budgets, this information may also be relevant to Article 22 of the PEF contract. PEF offered to meet and discuss this further if Management so desires.

Management= s response: Management will review and respond regarding a meeting.

3.  Health & Safety

Accomplishments:

We will have H&S minutes distributed to membership in a timely fashion. The Department and the unions work toward a common mission of a safe and health workplace. The defensive driving program was completed with great success. We look forward to continuing this program at DEC.

Still Much To Do:

Has DEC OER delivered an appeal to Civil Service that expands the Safety Incentive Differential criteria to include employees that conduct investigations at hazardous substance spills or other hazardous substance emergencies; or inspect hazardous substance facilities sites (e.g., manufacturers, storage facilities, active/inactive waste sites); or manage the cleanup of inactive hazardous waste sites?

Defensive driving classes run by NTSI must be made available in the Regions.

Program specific training that addresses the potential toxic health effects of field staff occupational exposures is essential to meet the intent of the Right to Know Law. Discontinuation of the Lyme disease program. AED are requested for the regional offices.

Health and Safety Committee involvement in the regional emergency evacuation plans.

Management= s response: SID is still an ongoing issue. The Office of Employee Relations will be working with the programs to develop a proposal.

The Health & Safety Unit= s FY 2002-03 work plan calls for development of a plan to address occupational and toxicology exposure in the field.

Citing poor sales, the sole producer of the LYMErix vaccine, Glaxo= s SmithKline Beecham, have announced that they are no longer going to produce the vaccine. The Department= s pilot program was completed last year. We have no intention of utilizing the Employee Health Service= s leftover supply of vaccine to inoculate any additional DEC employees. Health & Safety will continue to work with employees regarding preventive measures to avoid contraction of Lyme Disease.

It is Management= s intention to ultimately place automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in all Regional Offices and appropriate sub-locations.

All Regional Offices and the Health & Safety Chairs have received a copy of the Central Office emergency evacuation plan. The regions have been instructed to review/revise their own plans and submit copies to Health & Safety Unit by March 29, 2002.

 

II. Old Business

1. TransitChek

When will GOER begin discussions relating to cost and implementation TransitChek to DEC employees and its willingness to be involved in any Downstate Metropolitan area pilot program to that end?

www.transitcenter.com

Management= s response: There is no pilot pending, and there are no current discussions underway at this time. The only agreement made was to begin an assessment study which will be finalized by early April. The Governor will then make an announcement which will include recommendations.

2. Employee Time and Attendance Handbook

When will Management and Budget distribute this errata to January 3, 1994 version of the Employee Time and Attendance Handbook?

Management= s response: Management has received the information from PEF. It is hoped the handbook will be ready for completion soon after the start of the new fiscal year.

3. Training

The Professional Development Committee has recently established the new Continuing Education Grant program. The Continuing Education Grant Program, funded under the Public Service Training Program contract appropriations, will provide funding directly to State agencies to support new or existing educational endeavors in the areas of academics,

professional certification, and/or professional licensure.

PEF/EnCon requests that DEC take advantage of this one time grant opportunity.

The deadline for a State Agency to apply for a grant is May 31, 2002.

Management= s response: There will be an informational meeting on this subject on April 1, 2002 at GOER. Management suggests PEF attend this meeting and recommends that PEF employees become involved. PEF recommends that DEC= s grant request be as broad as possible to include all programs and that it include computer training.

4. Negative Interviews and Inappropriate Declination Seeking

PEF thanks Personnel for issuing the memo on this subject, but brought an additional situation to the attention of Personnel.

Management= s response: Personnel is investigating the additional complaint brought to their attention. The situation will be addressed.

Topic to be dropped from next agenda.

5. Failure to Provide Travel Advances

What steps will DEC take to ensure that travel advances continue and not on a first come, first serve basis? This method is unacceptable to PEF. We request that you increase the monies available. A corporate card is an unacceptable alternative because it does not cover all the expenses a travel advance does, such as daily meal allowance for overnight trips. In addition, credit card holders are not eligible for travel advances.

Management= s response: Travel advances are issued by date of need and then on a first-come, first-served basis. We have recently experienced a lag between the time employees receive their advances and when they submit their travel vouchers. Management has made an effort through Division Directors to have employees submit vouchers on a timely basis to ensure sufficient cash in the advance account. As an alternative to travel advances, credit cards are available to employees who travel.

6. Inadequate Per Diem Rate

Putnam County isn't listed on the CONUS list, thus giving trips to Putnam the standard minimum rate ($55) for receipted travel, but the motels in Dutchess charge the Dutchess County rate ($74). An employee, who stays in Dutchess is only eligible for the standard rate, if the work is in Putnam. A waiver of the standard rate is available, however It might simplify things if the Department could (by whatever process) make the Putnam rate routinely the same as that for Dutchess. Westchester is a lot higher ($114).

Management= s response: We will look to establish a pattern of requests for the increased rate. If such pattern is established, the Department will consider a blanket waiver.

7. Time Sheets

PEF requests that the topic be dropped.

Management= s response: Agreed.

8. Contracting Out Computer Services

What are the costs of contracted out computer support for SFY 2001-2002? PEF requests an itemized year to date report.

Management= s response: Contracted out costs for SFY 2001-02 remain at $1,140,000 as reported previously. This figure reflects the budgeted amount, not the actual expenditure. The actual expenditure along with an itemized listing by vendor will not be available until some time after 6/15/02.

9. Intranet/Internet

PEF= s improper practice charge alleged that EnCon violated the Taylor Law when it unilaterally issued an Internet Acceptable Use policy in October, 1997. Will a revised policy be issued by the Governor= s Office for Technology on personal use of the internet?

Management= s response: The IP is still on hold at PERB. Settlement discussions are ongoing between PEF and GOER.

10. Labor/Management Training

Rani Findlay from Cornell will prepare a draft agenda for Labor Management Training in June 18-20, 2002.

Management= s response: Follow up meeting to be scheduled.

11.  Scheduling of L/M Meetings

The next Labor/Management meeting date is June 13. PEF requests that Commissioner Crotty attend. One meeting per year should be in a Region on a rotational basis. The last regional meeting was June 3, 1999 in Region 3.

Management= s response: Management will invite the Commissioner to attend a future meeting.

12. Pollution and Energy Reduction Committee (PERC)

Since Management has stated that the expansion of compressed work schedules (CWS) and telecommuting to the regions is contingent upon success in Albany, PEF is encouraged that the Central Office CWS pilot started in February 2002 with a six month evaluation period. It also should be noted that the Region 3 Telecommuting pilot was reopened to interested employees in September. If DEC wants to require using a DEC computer for network access, then DEC must truly embrace telecommuting and provide computers to all employees meeting the guidelines.

Management= s response: The Compressed Pay Period Pilot Program began on 2/28/02. Prior to that date, the Department held a number of meetings with the participants, participants= supervisors and T&A coordinators. It is our expectation that this program will be a success.

The PERC committee is now focusing on expanding the telcommuting program within the Central Office. Security issues regarding the use of computers will be incorporated into the program guidelines. Division Directors have been made aware that division participation may depend on whether the program can support computer purchasing requirements.

PEF requests that the blanket approvals for early arrival times of 6:30 and 7:00 A.M. be reinstated. Similar to both CWS and telecommuting, this program allows participants to avoid commuting during both the morning and evening rush hours. Thus, early arrivals and their corresponding early departures decrease traffic congestion, which achieves reductions in both pollution emissions and fuel consumption.

Management= s response: The earlier start times were utilized last year only in connection with the Northway construction project. The only authorized start times remain between 7:30 A.M. and 9:00 A.M. Additional starting times of 7:00 A.M. and 9:30 A.M. have been raised to Executive for consideration.

13.  Laboratory Consolidation

Will the $25 M three bay light duty Automotive Emissions Laboratory (AEL) be a Research Institute staffed by non-State employees?

Management= s response: Richard Gibbs, Division of Air, presented the project proposal. This project is still a proposal. We have no plans to hire any non-State employees at this time. The facility will be staffed by 50 DEC employees. SUNY will construct the facility, own the land, and hold the lease. Initial funding is from the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act under NYSERDA.

14.  Acting Positions

Has Management filled Section Chief for the Western Facilities Section positions?

Management= s response: Yes. Guy Bobersky was appointed from the list on 3/18/02.

REGION 2: Is the SG-31 Section Chief in Air Unit still vacant?

Management= s response: Yes. In order to request a waiver, funding would need to be identified.

Is the SG-31 Regional Solid & Hazardous Materials Engineer filled?

Management= s response: No. No waiver has been submitted.

REGION 5: Is the Regional Permit Administrator position filled?

Management= s response: Yes. Tom Hall was appointed from the list on 4/1/02.

REGION 7: Is The Regional Air Engineer position filled?

Management= s response: No. The Program is trying to get the waiver approved.

Is the Natural Resource Supervisor position filled?

Management= s response: No. No waiver has been submitted.

Is the Wildlife Manager position filled?

Management= s response: No, but a candidate has been selected and the appointment will be made shortly.

  1. Contracting Out

The new Onondaga Lake Monitor, a contract employee of the Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board position issue is tabled, pending PEF review.

Management= s response: Agreed.

 

 

 

DEC

PEF/ENCON

 

 

 

DATE

May 7, 2002


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