[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]
E-M:/ PEER PRESSURE (2)
- Subject: E-M:/ PEER PRESSURE (2)
- From: "Rob Perks"<email@example.com>
- Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 15:41:34 -0500
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: "Rob Perks"<firstname.lastname@example.org>
1998 PEER Survey of Michigan DEQ Employees
In September, PEER mailed surveys to all 1462 employees of the Department of
Quality. All of the questions were written by DEQ employees. PEER has thus far
responses -- a 41.6 percent rate of return. Surveys continue to arrive daily.
Below are the
1. Governor Engler's 1995 split of the DNR into the DNR and DEQ has resulted in
protection for the environment.
5% Strongly Agree 2% Agree 12% No Opinion 31% Disagree 50% Strongly
2. DEQ management puts more weight on economic development than on resource
52% Strongly Agree 31% Agree 6% No Opinion 6% Disagree 5%
3. DEQ management views the primary "customer" of the DEQ as the individuals
businesses who seek permits rather than the natural resources and the general
63% Strongly Agree 23% Agree 5% No Opinion 6% Disagree 3%
4. DEQ's primary "customer" should be the natural resources and the general
public rather than
the regulated community.
52% Strongly Agree 30% Agree 4% No Opinion 8% Disagree 6%
5. The DEQ has sufficient staff and funding to adequately protect public health
5% Strongly Agree 12% Agree 7% No Opinion 29% Disagree 47%
6. The regulated community excessively influences permitting decisions at DEQ.
38% Strongly Agree 32% Agree 12% No Opinion 11% Disagree 7%
7. Permit applicants have received preferential review after they or interested
have visited with DEQ management regarding a proposed project.
33% Strongly Agree 30% Agree 25% No Opinion 7% Disagree 5%
8. I have been ordered by a superior to change or disregard a permitting
procedure or policy
based on non-scientific reasons.
14% Strongly Agree 13% Agree 42% No Opinion 15% Disagree 16%
9. I have experienced or know of an instance(s) in which a member or
representative of the
regulated community has been allowed to choose which DEQ employee will or will
not work on
their permit application(s), case(s) or file(s).
15% Strongly Agree 10% Agree 40% No Opinion 22% Disagree 13%
10. DEQ management is committed to enforcing environmental laws.
5% Strongly Agree 17% Agree 11% No Opinion 30% Disagree 37%
11. Compliance/enforcement efforts are given higher priority under DEQ than
they were prior to
the DNR split.
1% Strongly Agree 6% Agree 15% No Opinion 40% Disagree 38% Strongly
12. I have been directed by a superior to ignore an environmental rule or
14% Strongly Agree 12% Agree 28% No Opinion 29% Disagree 19%
13. Under the guise of "regulatory reform" Director Harding has ordered staff to
(e.g., reinterpret statutory requirements) that have resulted in less
25% Strongly Agree 36% Agree 20% No Opinion 8% Disagree 9%
14. I fear the possibility of job-related retaliation for advocating enforcement
rules and regulations.
22% Strongly Agree 30% Agree 23% No Opinion 20% Disagree 5%
15. The DEQ disseminates complete and accurate agency information to the general
4% Strongly Agree 25% Agree 16% No Opinion 33% Disagree 22%
16. Ordinary citizens have as much access to and influence with DEQ
representatives of the business community.
2% Strongly Agree 11% Agree 8% No Opinion 36% Disagree 43%
17. A citizen advisory board similar to the Natural Resources Commission should
to oversee DEQ policy.
48% Strongly Agree 25% Agree 11% No Opinion 10% Disagree 6%
18. The DEQ and DNR should be re-combined into one agency.
38% Strongly Agree 23% Agree 19% No Opinion 13% Disagree 7%
19. Director Harding's cross divisional movement weakens the agency by placing
into supervisory level positions for which they have no practical experience or
35% Strongly Agree 28% Agree 14% No Opinion 16% Disagree 7%
20. I have experienced or know of a situation(s) in which DEQ management has
changed the job responsibility of a staffer for doing their job "too well" on a
34% Strongly Agree 20% Agree 24% No Opinion 13% Disagree 9%
21. I trust top management of DEQ to protect Michigan's natural resources and
5% Strongly Agree 12% Agree 2% No Opinion 22% Disagree 59%
22. Russell Harding has done a good job as DEQ Director in protecting the
3% Strongly Agree 5% Agree 7% No Opinion 30% Disagree 55% Strongly
23. Morale among DEQ employees is:
1% Excellent 8% Good 17% Fair 32% Poor 42% Extremely Poor
24. In my opinion, the biggest problem facing the DEQ is:
[SEE "Employees Speak Out" below.]
My current position at DEQ is: 12% Management/Supervisory 82%
I work primarily in the following area(s):
39% Regulatory/Permitting 29% Compliance/Enforcement 23% Admin/Technical
Office of the Director [1 person] 9% Other
EMPLOYEES SPEAK OUT!
Responses to the Question: "In my opinion, the biggest problem facing the DEQ
WHAT AGENCY LEADERSHIP*SAYS
*These individuals indicated that they hold management/supervisory positions at
"Loss of the mission of environmental advocacy and leadership."
"No incentive not to pollute."
"The lack of enforcement of environmental laws."
"Inadequate enforcement of laws -- insufficient staff to do appropriate number
anti-enforcement mentality in Executive Office; insufficient number of attorneys
prosecute all deserving cases."
"The pattern of substituting political agendas for professional scientific
evaluation. This is best
evidenced by the Office of Administrative Hearings, which has constantly
laws in favor of those wishing to dredge, fill, drain or otherwise destroy
wetlands for profit and
overruling professional staff's evaluation and interpretation of clear law.
This Office works
directly under Director Harding's control and he works directly under the
therefore reflecting their policies."
"Employees of the DEQ do not trust top management of the DEQ to protect
resources and environment. This agency was created by a pro-business governor
order. The person appointed by the Governor to run the new agency was widely
the DNR and the environmental community. A natural resource protection agency
created in this
way and run by pro-business political appointees will never gain the trust of
employees that have
dedicated their lives and careers to protecting natural resources and the
"The impression created by the executive office that customer service is more
protecting the environment."
"Until such time that employees can admire, trust and respect DEQ top
management, the agency
will never achieve the goals of protecting Michigan's environment.
Unfortunately, that is exactly
how the Governor and Director want it. The day the DNR was split (and I became a
employee) was one of the saddest days of my career. I was always proud to say I
worked for the
Michigan Department of Natural Resources. I take no pride in saying that I work
for the DEQ, in
fact I am ashamed of it."
"The blatant politicization of the Department. There is no public oversight of
The public hearings are a dog and pony show -- basically a joke. Department
care less about what the average citizen thinks. The Director is a political
pawn who does
exactly what the Governor wants."
"Director Harding has been picked by the Governor to cater to the Regulated
Wasting resources on customer service training and programs like Environmental
Division. The Director hand picking industry friendly Division Chiefs.
Division Heads ignoring
technical staff to favor industry."
"Lack of a director and his immediate assistants that are dedicated to resource
"Arrogant Division Chiefs and Directors who go along with Department decisions
Succumbing to political influence even though the technical evaluations point to
"Governor Engler, whose lackey Harding is Michigan's own James Watt. They have
Michigan's standing in the top five states nationally for environmental
progressiveness to the
dregs at the bottom of the barrel."
"If the general public knew what the Engler Administration is up to in state
would be appalled. The public is constantly lied to and is a second class
citizen to the business
"This agency is nothing more than a political machine, run by the Governor
through his hired
"Our number one priority is providing our customer with good service. How can
we get them
their permits faster and friendlier? Protection of the environment is
sacrificed for greater
efficiency and productivity; we are here to serve the business community, not
"Political Interference, jobs commission, business entities, etc. Too many
resources going to
assist the regulated community at the expense of protecting the environment.
The essence of our
mission statement is helping to foster a strong and sustainable economy.'"
"The regulated community is able to schedule meetings on short notice with the
director and/or division chief. District staff involved with the issue are not
invited to attend and
are not asked for briefings. The regulated community always gets what they want,
at the expense
of the environment and public health while the DEQ staff morale and trust goes
down the toilet."
"Although I consider myself a moderate, I see where the focus has been more on
than on the environment. We need to keep businesses running and people working,
but we as an
agency need to assure there are resources, usable resources, still available to
"Engler, Engler, Engler!"
"There's been a lack of an overall vision for the department, dating back to
when we were still in
the DNR, since Governor Engler took office. Or, even worse, a deliberate shift
protecting the environment towards being primarily concerned with making money
"Governor Engler is the problem. He puts his cronies into decision making
positions who are
yes people. His only concern is to help people or businesses who pad his
"Governor John Engler and Big Business! Vote the scum out NOW!"
"The ability of state legislative representatives (and the governor) to
"There is no commission to represent the public interests, and allow for open
executive decisions, environmental problems, and policy making. The
the large corporate community. Russ Harding is only accountable to the
Governor, who believes
that environmental rules and regulations are detrimental to the interests of
"I have seen a Division Chief removed from his position because he was a strong
environmentalist and certain industry reps didn't like him. The Director's
Office has had secret
meetings with industry and granted them illegal permits and immunity from
Regulations do not get passed by the Governor's Office unless they relax
industry or provide the minimum' required to meet the federal Act and get
"Lack of willingness to enforce violation of environmental regulations; and
using public money
to fund environmental work (cleanups) that should be paid for by viable
companies. DEQ has a
political agenda driven by the governor's office which does not have the state's
as the top priority over the big business community."
"The biggest problem facing the DEQ will be preserving, protecting, and
outstanding natural resources of this state, while focusing on the economic
benefit of our
customers' -- the regulated community. No focus or foresight is factored into
Consequently, we are ignoring the long-term intangible benefits that we and our
children and our
children's children can witness and experience through the wise use,
enhancement of the beautiful natural resources of Michigan."
"Focus on economic development at expense of natural resources. Management that
economic growth and ignores strengthening protection and enforcement programs by
staff, and weakening staff efforts through a variety of unnoticed tactics."
"Working in the DEQ is barely tolerable. Those who haven't left state service
already are just
trying to hang in there until we get a new Governor and a new Director.
Governor Engler and
Harding are destroying state government, the environment and the natural
resources. Thank you
for taking this survey, and I hope the people of Michigan find out what's really
going on in our
"Lack of enforcement. Savvy regulated' parties violate laws with the knowledge
that the odds
are in their favor. It truly is easier to ask forgiveness rather than
permission. Chances of
restoration being required are very low -- no penalty."
"Having good environmental enforcement cases delayed until they exceed their
limitations...there is very little incentive to pursue any actions against
companies on industrial
entities for violations."
"Lack of enforcement. No citizen oversight. Scientific (not technically
supported) fraud -- bad
science. (Science does not = political science!) Lack of awareness to public at
large of what is
going on -- how DEQ is totally emasculated."
"Emphasis on issuing permits for bean counting purposes with little
consideration to sound
science. Total lack of enforcement."
"Laws lack enough teeth'. Need much more enforcement power. Need the extra
judges to move these cases quickly. Need enforcement power over agriculture who
or not covered by environmental laws."
"Allowing big businesses to either name the enforcement action or to downgrade
of the originally passed Act to suit their own needs by the governor's
recommendation. Lack of
Enforcement Officers within DEQ to regulate the Act (one officer for an 11
"Very little criminal enforcement. Very difficult for staff to get criminal
"I have not done any enforcement action since 1996."
"Department and Division Management have made enforcement a joke, not through
but by not supporting enforcement efforts with adequate staff and budgets and by
and aggressively enforcing the environmental laws. Staff knows that they're
safe if they don't
make any critical decisions. Consequently, employee morale is at an all-time
"This survey addresses economic influences on the department however an often
is the judicial system where we often lose cases which would have been won in
Influence of non-scientific concerns and lack of enforcement are the biggest
"DEQ Division's reinterpreting statutory language based on administrative law
in lieu of case law that proves we should interpret otherwise. ALJ Decisions
"Administrative law judges choosing to ignore sound environmental science and
decisions upon their own agenda or the agenda of the Engler Administration,
job-related retaliation as well."
"Lack of enforcement and proper funding; separation of Resource Managers (DNR)
Protectors (DEQ); and inappropriate decisions/contrary to law routinely being
made by DEQ
Administrative Law Judges."
"Poor upper management (Director's Office) and their inability or lack of desire
knowledgeable staff. The DEQ has adequate staff and expertise to perform their
poor leadership and resulting low employee morale which inhibit the process."
"Leaders who care more about the economy than the environment."
"Russell Harding and John Engler."
"John Engler/Russell Harding -- they have to go!! We must protect the
environment, not help
big business get out of the mess they have created."
"Four more years of Governor Engler influencing the Department. Keeping Harding
There's no doubt that he listens more to non-environmental groups (e.g.
business) than he does to
his own staff. If we were an army, I feel like our Generals are for the other
"John Engler and Russell Harding. Their first concern is promoting business and
"John Engler! And his puppet Russ Harding."
"The person sitting in the Governor's chair."
"Fuhrer Harding. If he ever shakes your hand, be sure afterwards to count your
fingers and wash
off the slime."
"The director -- who seems to have little concern for the importance of natural
resources and how
they benefit all of us. The division chiefs seem like they have strong
environmental beliefs, but
cannot act on them due to orders from the top."
"Lack of support by Governor, Director for DEQ/DNR, and for State employees in
"Too many unqualified Supervisors, appointed as æfavors', trying to run things.
Too many upper
management turning their heads (ignoring) problems brought to their attention."
"Now that the DEQ bureaucracy is in place and staffed by a hierarchy of policy
will be next to impossible to change much, given four more years of the
Maintaining dedication and morale is the main challenge for field workers."
"It is difficult to decide if the biggest problem is the governor or the
director. Stakeholder groups
are heavily weighted in favor of those being regulated and some of the
have refused to attend because their voice is drowned out by industry. The
also seem to be listened to by management more so than our own staff. Also,
privatization of our
work puts the bottom line on profits instead of the environment."
"That top management is too influenced by political influence, considerations,
connections. Middle and lower levels of the agency I believe are in general,
dedicated to serving
the welfare of the general public and natural resource. Top management needs to
to a citizen board and not only to the Governor."
"Overcoming political pressure and influence of John Engler or any future
virtually all top management appointments are either made directly or indirectly
Governor's Office. The Governor's reorganizations have eliminated commissions
designed to insulate the Department's policy from such direct political
"Russell Harding, Chad McIntosh, Gary Hughes -- Engler's industry lackeys
running the DEQ."
"Upper level management are in the hip pocket of the governor and he would sell
out anything to
serve his constituents, who are the regulated community and wealthy people.
McIntosh are there to make life easy for the regulated community and nothing
"Poor managers. Few good role models. Reduced staff pushed to do more work.
and professional licensed staff are leaving. Remaining workers are doing more
superficial reviews and studies."
"Lack of staff to do the job adequately or well, due to a governor who doesn't
want to DEQ to do
"Too few staff and too little money to get the job done."
"Employee morale due to hiring freezes, resulting in workloads on individual
are unmanageable. However, the employee is still accountable for the work.
enough time to projects to do a good job on them even with the best intentions."
"Lack of resources, particularly number of staff. That is absolutely the reason
why morale is low
-- people are too overburdened to fight top management over controversies. I
think the will is
there (to fight for mandated protection) at the lower levels. Cutting staff
reduces credibility of
agency to public and permitees, making it easier to cut even more and to
decisions. Burnout hurts DEQ as much or more than Englers' administration's
"A greater reliance on regulations, policies and procedures is not a good
substitute for competent
staff and management and more publically assessable forums (Commissions, Boards,
have seen both excessively restrictive and less than adequate actions taken on
environmental protection. With the loss of environmentally competent staff,
what can we expect
for the future of the DEQ and environmental protection?"
"Not enough staff and field workers, too much political influence. Clean up not
pollution resolution not timely. Our water bodies continue to be polluted."
NEGATIVE COMMENTS ABOUT PEER
"Extremist negative surveys such as this. The tone of this survey offends my
standards. Trying to some customers as primary' which implies others are
contradictory of equal protection concerns which are guaranteed by both state
constitutions." -DEQ Manager
"Negative attitudes by employees towards top management. Our agency is run by
appointees now...get used to it and do your best to do your job. Quit whining
and start working!
There's lots of good to be done!" -DEQ Manager
"It must be nice to be political whores which are the puppets of the Democratic
"The Department is comprised primarily of field staff who long for a return to
the good old days'
of the 1980s when the eco-terrorists ran unchecked using their intimidation and
tactics. The changes of the last 4-5 years were long overdue. These
malcontents' need to be
weeded out of state government."