Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved October 8, 2003, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, October 8, 2003, at the DOE Information Center in Oak Ridge, beginning at 6:00 p.m. A video tape recording of the meeting was made and may be viewed by calling the DOE Information Center at (865) 241-4780.

Members Present

Ben Adams
Jake Alexander
Rhonda Bogard
Donna Campbell
Heather Cothron
Amy DeMint
Luther Gibson
John Kennerly
Barbara Kosny1
Bob McLeod
David Mosby, Chair,
Linda Murawski
Luis Revilla, Secretary
George Rimel
Atur Sheth1
Christopher Smith
Kerry Trammell

1Student representative

Members Absent

Dick Berry2
Pat Hill2
John Million
Norman Mulvenon, Vice Chair

2Second consecutive absence

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Dave Adler, Ex Officio, DOE-Oak Ridge Operations (DOE-ORO)
Jay Bassett, for Connie Jones, Ex Officio, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Pat Halsey, Federal Coordinator, DOE-ORO EM
Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer, DOE-ORO EM
John Owsley, Ex
Officio, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)

Others Present

Jeannie Brandstetter, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC (BJC)
Jim McBrayer, BJC
Pete Osborne, BJC

Two members of the public attended the meeting.


Mr. Mosby discussed the ORSSAB Bylaws, Special Rules of Order and Standing Rules. He said they are a necessary part of any organization, and according to ORSSAB charter, a required function of the Board. After the presentation (Attachment 1), questions were asked by members of the Board and the public, and the following responses were given by Mr. Mosby.


Response (Abridged)

Mr. Adams – Does the SSAB have a copy of the newly revised Robert’s Rules of Order

The support office has it.

Josh Johnson (ORSSAB Stewardship Committee member) – The Stewardship Committee involves a lot of people from the community who are not Board members. You said something about only members of the committee can vote. Is that true for Stewardship?

Members of the public can fully participate in a standing committee of the board. Stewardship is a standing committee. Public participation is limited to attending meetings.

Deputy Designated Federal Officer (DDFO) and Ex-Officio Comments

Department of Energy - Mr. McCracken told the Board that DOE has entered into a new contract with Bechtel Jacobs Company, and indicated the move is positive as it allows work to continue. He indicated that the SSAB will be involved in the process, and wants members to feel good about work that is completed. Mr. McCracken also volunteered to provide a full presentation to discuss the contract to the Board at a meeting date of its choosing, offering to share Project Execution Plans with the Board.

Mr. Trammell asked about the path forward and schedule for the K-25/27 contract since BJC had opted not to negotiate the work with the sole bidder, the Washington/Shaw group. Mr. McCracken reported he did not think this decision would adversely affect DOE’s ability to close ETTP by 2008. He said BJC has already discussed the best path forward with the use of existing and new subcontracts. Plans are to deal with high-risk work first, followed by low-risk work. Dealing first with the classified and enrichment issues involved in the high-risk work may allow a simpler approach to the low-risk work.

Mr. Gibson said as work accelerated at the Fernald site, safety was perceived as secondary to speed, and asked what process is in place to address that perception in Oak Ridge. Mr. McCracken said he has already been counseling staff that a huge concern will be whether you can accelerate the work and still perform it as safely as you have been. He said he didn’t know the circumstances at Fernald, but suspected that the incidents there occurred as a result of doing a large amount of work in a fairly small area. He said it is a reasonable question to ask and answer. He said not doing the work in a safe and quality fashion would prevent meeting cost and time schedules, but saying it and doing it are two different things. DOE can explain safety plans in more detail, he said, but there is no exception to the rule that safety is number one on DOE’s mind. Lessons learned from Fernald indicate that everyone believed DOE’s priority was job one. He said management in Oak Ridge should avoid those in the ranks believing that safety is not DOE’s top priority.

Mr. Mosby asked about the timeline for the Project Execution Plan and review of the Lifecycle Baselines. Mr. McCracken indicated that the baseline review should be done by October’s end. A slight glitch occurred when a team from Headquarters’ Office of Engineering & Construction Management was unable to complete a September review. He said the Project Execution Plan, required by a DOE Order to describe how business will be carried out, is now being finalized and is planned for completion in November, at which time it can be shared with the Board.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation - Mr. Owsley did not make any announcements Mr. Adams inquired if the recent weather event during which a large amount of rainfall accumulated in a few hours’ time had any negative effect on the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility, and Mr. Owsley said it had not.

Environmental Protection Agency – Mr. Bassett told the Board EPA is happy to see the contract signed with BJC because it allows EPA to move ahead with the FFA and other agreements, and how the new contract and the baseline will affect them. He said some significant documents had been released for Decontamination and Decommissioning work at ETTP.

Public Comment

No public comment

Announcements and Other Board Business

The minutes of the September 10, 2003, Board meeting were unanimously approved.

FY2004 ORSSAB Budget – Mr. Trammell reported on the Finance Committee’s Sept. 18, 2003 meeting, and urged members to attend when the committee met again on Oct. 9. He expected the committee to have a budget draft at the next Board meeting. He said they have worked with broad categories, but plan to delve into more detail in subsequent meetings. He asked that any members who had suggestions or comments e-mail them to him. He said $300,000 would be the total amount the Board can expect from DOE, but if more is made available, the budget will be adjusted.

Mr. Mosby asked about the FY 2003 budget overrun indicated on information included in the notebook. Ms. Halsey said the Board did not stay within the $281,000 allocated, and although September spending numbers are not in so she predicts actual expenditures will be approximately $289,000.

Establishment of Board Finance and Public Outreach as Standing Committees - The Board voted to elevate the Board Finance Committee to a standing committee, with members taking more responsibility for allocation of Board funds. Mr. Kennerly inquired if the new committee would make recommendations, review spending or approve expenditures. Mr. Trammell said the committee will do all of those things, in addition to setting expenditure levels for staff. He said advertising and printing costs, for example, will be studied to see if cuts can be made. Mr. Kennerly asked whether BJC or DOE would handle travel and Mr. Trammell said it would be DOE. Ms. Halsey will provide DOE travel guidelines to members.

Members also voted to create a standing committee for Public Outreach. Mr. Rimel said a sizeable portion of the Board’s funds are spent on Public Outreach, and thus there exists a need for greater member involvement. Mr. Mosby said Public Outreach is one of the mechanisms through which the Board ensures adequate public participation.

Mr. Gibson said although he did not oppose the formation of a Public Outreach Committee per se, he was concerned that Board members were spending time on administrative duties when the Stewardship and EM committees remain very important and are in need of strong support from members. Mr. Revilla pointed out that ad hoc committees are intended to cover short-term, temporary issues, and standing committees address topics indefinitely. Ms. Cothron questioned whether outreach could be a subcommittee to an existing committee, indicating that she shared Mr. Gibson’s concern that Board members might be spreading themselves to thinly over too many committees, but no committee was deemed a good fit. Mr. Trammell agreed that if the committee could be combined with another, it might serve the Board well.

Environmental Management Committee - Mr. Gibson reported that the Environmental Management Committee met on September 17. The Ground Water Subcommittee prioritized topics and will assign issue managers for them. Dick Ketelle of BJC gave a presentation on the Remediation Effectiveness Report. Mr. Gibson noted that he was pleased to have Jeff Crane from EPA at the EM meeting. The committee’s next meeting is October 15. A presentation on the Monitored Natural Attenuation will be provided by Tom Early of DOE.

Mr. Gibson told members he registered the Board for another Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC) seminar to be given over the Internet from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Oct. 9 on Rad Risk Assessment at the DOE Information Center. Another scheduled for Oct. 21 will focus on in situ bioremediation. The Web casts feature a slide presentation with streaming audio.

Stewardship Committee - Mr. Adams reported that the Stewardship Committee met on September 16. Ralph Skinner gave a presentation on the Long-Term Stewardship Management Plan, and Mr. Adams noted that the meeting adjourned at 7 p.m. Lorene Sigal was asked to put on a committee orientation prior to the Board meeting, which was well attended. Ongoing work for the committee involves communication with DOE. Mr. Adams said a sense of long-term stewardship is wrapped up in recommendations sent to DOE to which there has been no clear response. Mr. Adams pointed out that there are new people involved at DOE, primarily Mr. McCracken, and the committee members are working to compile a historical listing of previously stated concerns that will be reiterated. The committee’s next meeting is October 16, 2003.

Executive Committee - Mr. Mosby mentioned that a travel request for Mr. Gibson had been approved at the Sept. 23, 2003 Executive Committee meeting. In addition, committee members discussed the accidental destruction of a historic chimney at East Tennessee Technology Park.

Board Finance Committee – Mr. Trammell again urged members to attend the Oct. 9 committee meeting at 5 p.m. at the DOE Information Center.

Board Process Committee – Mr. Revilla reported on the Oct. 1 Board Process Ad Hoc Committee meeting, during which members discussed the restructure of by-laws to ensure the Finance Committee has a clear path forward; follow-up orientation session/mentors for new members, action items remaining from the August Board retreat and length of Board member terms.

Public Outreach Committee – Mr. Rimel reported on the Public Outreach Committee’s Oct. 2 meeting, during which he was elected Chair. He told members that the committee is seeking new members, but also said that membership on the committee is not necessary for members to participate in the Board’s speakers bureau, which is being revised.

Mr. Gibson asked if members would be encouraged to join more than one standing committee, and Mr. Mosby said the issue would have to be studied. He asked that the membership roster be revised to indicate membership on the new standing committees.

Memos and other reports - Mr. Mosby brought the Board’s attention to the response generated by the Board’s recommendation on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and another piece of correspondence sent from DOE to the wrong address in November 2002 in response to the Board’s welcome to Jessie Roberson.

He also noted the ORSSAB FY 2004 Work Plan, which is required by Board by-laws to be presented no later than two months following the Board’s annual retreat. He encouraged members to be prepared to approve the plan in November. Mr. Adams asked if the Board needed to have a work plan tracking chart similar to that put out by the EM and Stewardship Committees that lists speakers and presentations. Mr. Mosby said the presentations are planned one or two months in advance and the meetings are more flexible than committee meetings and output.

Mr. Mosby also briefed members on the Sept. 25-27 Chairs Meeting in Paducah. He said there was much discussion on the future of SSABs and Citizens Advisory Boards and he heard strong support for the continuation of the boards to ensure EM continues its job in terms of public participation. Mr. Trammell asked if there was discussion of additional SSAB workshops, and Mr. Mosby indicated that each board’s presentation touched on the value of the workshops. He said there was strong support that the workshops continue to be held, but without additional funding from headquarters, it will be difficult for any individual board to support a workshop. The next Chairs meeting is planned for Washington D.C. with Hanford designated as the alternate site.

Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey told Board members the Recommendations Tracking Chart will be formatted for FY 2004 and those comments and recommendations that are already resolved will drop off the chart.

She also discussed a set of travel forms requested from members by the DOE Travel Office in order to allow travel arrangements be made through DOE and reimbursement for travel costs direct-deposited to members’ bank accounts. Mr. Kennerly said the request was an invasion of privacy, and Mr. McCracken indicated that although direct deposit would be the cheapest means to obtain reimbursement, he would investigate if another means could be employed for members who choose not to supply personal information. Mr. Mosby asked if members who don’t have personal credit cards would be precluded from traveling for the Board, and Ms. Halsey said DOE will address that issue if it arises.

Mr. Bassett suggested that members might open and retain a separate credit union account strictly for travel reimbursements. Ms. Halsey said she had considered that option, although there might be a fee involved. Ms. Cothron said a Y-12 Credit Union savings account can be opened with a $5 deposit.

Mr. Smith asked if the Board has a commercial bank account from which to dispense members’ travel reimbursements, but Ms. Halsey said the Board would have to first incorporate before such an account could be opened.

Ms. Halsey said she would provide DOE’s travel guidelines to members, as well as investigate whether they could retain Diners Club cards if they begin paying the fees previously funded through a Bechtel Jacobs contract.

Public Comment


The meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.


Mr. Revilla moved to approve the September 10, 2003, meeting minutes. Mr. Gibson seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Trammell moved to make the Board Finance Ad Hoc Committee a standing committee. The motion passed, with 11 members voting in favor, two voting against (Ms. DeMint, Mr. McLeod) and one abstaining (Ms. Bogard). Mr. Alexander was absent for the vote.

Mr. Rimel moved to form a standing Public Outreach Committee. The motion passed, with 12 members voting in favor and two (Mr. McLeod, Mr. Mosby) voting against. Mr. Alexander was absent for the vote.

Action Items

1.       Staff will revise the membership roster to reflect membership on all committees. Complete. Carryover item, distributed to members at Oct. 8 meeting. 

2.       Ms. Halsey will provide DOE travel guidelines to members. Complete. Distributed to members   at Nov. 12 meeting.

3.       Ms. Halsey will investigate whether members may retain Diners Club cards. Complete. Members who choose to pay usage fee may keep the cards.