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Home > Programs > Ombudsman > Business Roundtable > Meeting Information
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RIDEM Quarterly Business Roundtable Meeting Minutes
September 23, 1999

Director Jan Reitsma and Gary Ezovski called the September 23, 1999 meeting of the Quarterly Business Roundtable to order at 4:05 p.m. Those in attendance are noted on the attached list.

Minutes from the June 24, 1999 were reviewed with no requests for modifications.

Old Business:

Notice was made that the DEM website includes a schedule for meetings. Director Reitsma suggested public hearings be included.

Global Enforcement Program update was provided by T. Gray. A handout was provided and recommendations were sought for potential use of administrative warrants. A goal has been established within the Department to effect this policy by March 2000. T. Gray also advised that a formal position regarding NFA letters should be completed in about a month.

Director Reitsma commented on reorganization status:
  • Reorganization discussions have involved many issues beyond organizational structure. Many of those issues beyond structure are items on which the Department needs no legislative action to effect a sensible change. As such the Department will be acting within itself to deal with some issues and leave reorganization for a true focus of future legislation.
  • The Department's new work plan to be discussed in new business will detail some of that future activity.
  • Creation of an ombudsman is a step that is now in process.
Comments from round table participants regarding the Environmental Compliance Incentive Act were reviewed and referred to a work group which Chris Rein of ESS volunteered to chair. The group will meet to establish a final recommendation for action to be submitted at the next round table meeting in January.

New Business:

The suggestion to establish joint position papers for above ground/basement home heat tanks and arsenic issues were discussed.

  • A Home Heat tank subgroup was established. G. Ezovski will arrange meetings of that group for submission of a paper at the January meeting.
  • Because their already is an existing DEM task force reviewing arsenic it was agreed that we await the position paper that is due from that group by November 15, 1999. Eric Beck is now leading that effort. Suggestions or technical inputs are suggested to be forwarded to Eric.

R. Ballou and Director Reitsma outlined the scope of the DEM work plan that will be presented to Governor Almond next week. Full distribution in advance of the presentation to the Governor was not possible but some sample information was provided. Ultimately, it is expected that the plan will be submitted for public comment. Though an abundance of effort has been applied to draft the plan, it is a work in process that is expected to be modified as the review proceeds. Due to the size of the document, the best means for accessing the work plan is through the Department's website (www.dem.state.ri.us). A hard copy of the executive summary can be mailed to anyone who does not have Internet access (call 222-4700, extension 4430).

F. Vincent and Director Reitsma offered a recap of the DEM budget issues:

  • The State budget outlook is not as good as the overall economy. Therefore, the Administration has directed each Department to submit a budget request at a target level. Target levels were set at approximately 95% of adjusted current services-i.e. a 5% cut. Consequently the Department may need to reduce services in some areas if such levels are adopted.
  • Open space acquisition and CSO programs are important capital projects but the administration is also faced with other needs like the Providence River dredging.

Roundtable participants offered that business must lobby the legislature if the Department is to obtain reasonable funding.

R. Ballou and Director Reitsma offered a list of legislative priorities. Overall the effort will be to limit proposals and prioritize issues. Among the current concerns are:

  • Dams
  • Lobsters
  • Wetlands reform with a smaller scope

The Department will also welcome identification of laws which get in the way of business without providing environmental benefit. Comment was made that permit review resources being driven by expedited review for economic concern is good but creates a delay for regular projects that have been waiting in line. A package of common sense proposals will be drafted for possible legislative action.

Other Business:

Additional information was presented regarding the Department's Workplan:

  • The Department's budget and workplan go together.
  • A program of personnel development reviews is included to tie individual efforts to workplans and seek ideas or tools required to accomplish Department goals.

The Department announced completion of an MOU today regarding auto body shops through a joint effort of business, Davies and URI. A certification program may result.

A new initiative to use mediation (alternative dispute resolution) was introduced and a handout provided. Comments are welcome.

Next meetings set for January 6, and March 23, 2000.

For General Information 222-6800 • After Hours Emergencies 222-3070 • Disclaimer
rev. 10/29/08