Many Voices Working for the Community
Approved August 12, 2009 Meeting Minutes
The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, August 12, 2009, at the DOE Information Center in Oak Ridge, beginning at 6 p.m.
John Coffman - Secretary
Steve Dixon - Chair
Ted Lundy - Vice-chair
Deputy Designated Federal Officer, Liaisons, and Federal Coordinator Present
Dave Adler, Liaison, Department of Energy – Oak Ridge Office (DOE-ORO)
Pat Halsey, DOE-ORO, ORSSAB Federal Coordinator
Connie Jones, Liaison, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4
Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer and DOE-ORO Assistant Manager for Environmental Management (EM).
John Owsley, Liaison, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)
Spencer Gross, Spectrum
Kathy Johnson, Spectrum
Pete Osborne, Spectrum
One member of the public was present.
Steve McCracken – Mr. McCracken said that he is planning to retire after the first of the year, although a definite date has not been set. He said he told Gerald Boyd, manager of DOE-ORO, well ahead of time to allow Mr. Boyd to find a successor and to allow for some overlap between that time and when Mr. McCracken retires. His successor will be John Eschenberg, who is currently the assistant manager for EM at Hanford, Wash.
Mr. McCracken said work in Oak Ridge funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going well. If all continues to go as planned he hopes more money will flow to Oak Ridge from Washington for recovery act-designated work
Dave Adler – Mr. Adler reminded members who are going on a tour of the Oak Ridge Reservation on Thursday, August 13, 2009, to meet at about 9:40 at the New Hope Center on Scarboro Road. He reminded them to bring photo identifications and not to bring any cell phones, pagers, cameras, or recording devices on the tour.
Connie Jones – no comments.
John Owsley – no comments.
Ms. Johnson provided a summary of results for the annual member survey. The main points of her presentation are in Attachment 1.
She began by saying the purpose of the survey (Attachment 2) is to identify issues and discuss them in more detail at the annual retreat on August 29.
She said most board members responded to the majority of questions as ‘agree’ or ‘mostly agree’ (Attachment 1, slide 3). Ms. Johnson briefly reviewed board strengths as indicated by ‘agree’ or ‘mostly agree’ responses (Attachment 1, slide 4).
She focused on questions that received ‘disagree’ or ‘mostly disagree’ responses (Attachment 1, slide 5). Those survey questions were related to accountability, public perception, and the role of issue managers. Ms. Johnson reviewed the opportunities for improvement as indicated by the ‘disagree’ or ‘mostly disagree’ responses (Attachment 1, slide 6).
She said some members still do not fully understand the role of issue manager and they feel that role is not spread equitably among the membership; those who have the most time tend to volunteer. Ms. Johnson said perhaps a discussion at the retreat could be if the role of issue manager should remain voluntary or if it should be required. Mr. Mezga point out that at previous retreats it was decided that each board member serving on the EM and Stewardship Committees should act as an issue manager or assistant issue manager.
Ms. Johnson said the survey indicated that all members indicated a desire to contribute to the success of the board, but they were less certain about the level of commitment across the board. She said it appears there are key members who tend to take the initiative.
The survey question that received the most ‘disagree’ or ‘mostly disagree’ responses was question 21: the board is sufficiently recognized by the public for its work. Mr. Akins wondered what was ‘sufficiently recognized.’ Ms. Johnson said she thought respondents meant the board should increase its level of awareness among the public and get the public involved in its mission. Mr. Myrick said most of the public isn’t aware the board exists and perhaps it is not reaching out as a representative of the public.
Ms. Johnson provided a list of open comments from her survey interviews (Attachment 3). She focused on three points:
· Some members are more extroverted; particularly those with more expertise
· How to quantify the work of the board
· How members can get to know one another better. Ms. Johnson noted that biographical information on members is available on the ORSSAB website and in the board’s Guide for New Members.
Ms. Johnson reviewed the highlights of board accomplishments (Attachment 1, slides 8-9).
She reviewed the breakdown of committee membership. She pointed out the large number of board members on the EM Committee (11) as opposed to only four on Stewardship. In light of the earlier discussion about public perception she thought perhaps the Public Outreach Committee could use more members.
Ms. Halsey said the public members on Stewardship have a long history with stewardship. She said newer board members have a learning curve about stewardship and they may never quite attain that level of knowledge while serving as board members.
Ms. Johnson concluded her review of the survey by asking what needs to be addressed at the retreat. Ms. Halsey said she would like to see the committees discussed. For instance, with the expansion of the on-site waste disposal facility near Y-12 National Security Complex, perhaps that topic needs its own committee. She also suggested that perhaps the Stewardship Committee could meet less often.
Mr. McCracken asked if he is to review the issues addressed in the survey then prioritize them and discuss them during his time on the agenda at the retreat. Ms. Johnson said that would be appropriate.
Mr. Akins said the language (abbreviations and acronyms) used by ORSSAB is ‘foreign’ and difficult for the public to understand. He said there needs to be an analysis of the process of communicating issues and providing data in a way the public can understand. Mr. Olson added that governmental jargon is often as difficult to understand as technical terminology.
Mr. McCracken commented that the board needs to be a resource for the community to help solve cleanup problems in the near future and communicate its ideas to DOE-ORO. He said the board should become excited about why it exists and what it can do to solve problems. Mr. McCracken said he hopes the board will maintain its enthusiasm, but he worries that it might become discouraged and lose interest before work is completed. He said the board must feel its mission is important.
Announcements and Other Board Business
ORSSAB will have its annual retreat on August 29, 2009, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. RT Lodge at 1406 Wilkinson Pike in Maryville, Tenn.
The next monthly board meeting will be Wednesday, September 9, 2009, at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center.
The minutes of the July 8, 2009 meeting were approved.
Memorandum from Mr. McCracken to Merle Sykes re: Participation of the Environmental Management Site Specific Advisory Board, Stakeholders, and Regulators in Environmental Management Budget Requests was distributed (Attachment 4).
A response to Recommendation 178: Recommendations on the FY 2011 Environmental Management Program Budget Request, from Merle Sykes, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Program Planning and Budget, DOE EM Headquarters, was distributed (Attachment 5).
A response to Recommendation 179: Recommendation on Providing Information in the DOE Quarterly Project Reviews was distributed (Attachment 6).
The Savannah River Site Citizens’ Advisory Board Spring 2009 newsletter was distributed (Attachment 7).
Nominating Committee – Mr. Mezga representing the Nominating Committee presented a slate of candidates for board officers for FY 2010. They are Ron Murphree, chair; Kevin Westervelt, vice chair; and Ed Juarez, secretary. Officers will be elected at the September 9 board meeting. Additional nominations for officers will be taken from the floor at that meeting.
Federal Coordinator Report
Ms. Halsey reported on the status of a number of outstanding recommendations:
Recommendation 175 on the Integrated Facility Disposition Program – a response letter has been prepared and is in the concurrence chain, which includes the Oak Ridge Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration Y-12. The response letter should be ready by the September meeting.
Recommendation 178 on the FY 2011 EM Program Budget Request – Mr. McCracken sent a memorandum (Attachment 4) to Merle Sykes, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget Operation, noting that ORSSAB recommended an increase in the budget targets for DOE-ORO EM for work at Building 3019 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Ms. Sykes also provided a response to the recommendation directly to board chair Steve Dixon (Attachment 5).
Recommendation 179 on Providing Information in the DOE Quarterly Project Reviews – a response to the recommendation was provided at this meeting (Attachment 6).
Recommendation 180 on Expansion of the CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) Waste Facility and Sorting and Segregating of Wastes Destined for the Facility – a response to the recommendation is being prepared
Additions to the Agenda
Mr. Mead moved to approve the agenda. Mr. Myrick seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Coffman moved to approve the minutes of the July 8, 2009 meeting. Mr. Mead seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.
Attachments (7) to these minutes are available on request from ORSSAB support office.