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E-M:/ Public Opinion Ignored in MDEQ Reorganization

Enviro-Mich message from James Clift <jamesmec@voyager.net>

Pointing out that the public was never consulted during the planning
process, environmental groups criticized the recently announced
reorganization of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
(MDEQ).  The reorganization was unveiled Monday by MDEQ Director, Russ
Harding in a memo to the agency's employees.   

"Everything about the reorganization demonstrates the low priority
Director Harding places on protecting public health and involving
citizens in MDEQ decision-making, " stated James Clift, Policy Director
of the Michigan Environmental Council. The plan includes placing the
wetland protection program under the control of the former Chief of the
Geological Survey, the administration's main proponent of directional
drilling below the Great Lakes.  "Ideas like this one do not reflect the
public's environmental priorities and undermine the credibility of the
department," said Clift.  

The reorganization comes at a time when core services are being
eliminated at an alarming rate.  The Engler administration has cut
general fund support for the MDEQ from $101 million for fiscal year 2002
(43 PA 2001) to $69 million for the fiscal year starting October 1, a
cut of more than 30%.  Transferring employees between jobs, and time
spent physically reorganizing offices will further limit the ability of
employees to do their job.  

The reorganization will not be implemented until at least September,
just months before the Engler administration will turn over control to
the next administration.  With MDEQ restructuring being mentioned as a
priority by some of the leading gubernatorial candidates, environmental
groups believe decisions regarding the structure of the department
should best be left to the incoming administration.  

The memo follows below, or the document including the organizational
chart describing the reorganization are available on the MEC website:

Submitted by:

James Clift, Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
(517) 487-9539

Reorganization memo:

 TO:           DEQ Employees

 FROM:         Russell J. Harding, Director

 SUBJECT:      New DEQ Organizational Structure

 The early out retirement program and budget reductions will have a
significant impact on the  department.  The magnitude of these impacts
necessitates the restructuring of the

 Attached is the new high level department organizational structure.
Shown on the chart are the assignments of division chiefs and assistant
division chiefs.  The recruitment process for  the vacant division chief
positions will begin immediately.

 The new structure consolidates the existing nine program divisions into
six divisions as follows:

 a) The Air Quality Division (AQD) remains mainly intact.  However,
the Dry Cleaning Program  from the Drinking Water and Radiological
Protection Division (DWRPD) is added to the division, while conversely,
the toxicologists are moved into the Environmental Science and Services

 b) The Water Division is mostly derived from combining the now
existing Surface Water Quality Division (SWQD) and DWRPD.  Added are the
Groundwater Program elements from the Waste Management Division (WMD)
and the Soil Erosion and Inland Lakes and Aquatic Nuisance programs from
the existing Land and Water Management Division  (LWMD).

 c) The Geological and Land Management Division is derived from the
existing Geological Survey Division (GSD) and the LWMD, except for the
Soil Erosion and Inland Lakes and Aquatic Nuisance programs, which are
transferred to the Water Division.

 d) The Waste and Hazardous Materials Division is mostly derived
from the existing WMD.  Added are Storage Tank Technical Review and
field inspection duties from the existing   Storage Tank Division (STD),
and the Radiological Protection Program from the DWRPD.  The Groundwater
Program is moved from the WMD to the Water Division.

 e) The Remediation and Redevelopment Division is derived mostly
from combining the existing Environmental Response Division (ERD) and
the cleanup program from the STD.  The ERD grant and loan
responsibilities relating to Site Assessment and Clean  Michigan
Initiative are transferred to the Environmental Science and Services
Division. Storage Tank Technical Review is transferred to the Waste and
Hazardous Materials Division.  Enforcement Unit staff from the STD will
be split between the Remediation and Redevelopment Division and the
Waste and Hazardous Materials Division.  State site cleanups overseen by
the Office of Special Environmental Projects will also be    
transferred into the Remediation and Redevelopment Division.

 f) The Environmental Science and Services Division is derived from
combining the existing Environmental Assistance Division (EAD) with the
Environmental Laboratory from the existing DWRPD, the toxicologists from
the existing AQD, SWQD, ERD, and WMD, and the grant and loan
administration responsibilities from the ERD, DWRPD, SWQD, and LWMD.

 This structure was developed through a deliberative process over the
past few months. Earlier this year division chiefs submitted
reorganization proposals. The Executive staff then  had a series of
meetings to discuss those
proposals and develop the departmentís new  organizational structure.

 The need for consolidation was apparent due to the number of
supervisors and managers  who elected early retirement.  Five division
chiefs, one assistant division chief, 15 section chiefs, 26 unit chiefs
and  14 level specialists signed up for early retirement.  Even though
the department has been approved for a 1 to 4 replacement of positions
vacated through early retirement, it was clear that we could not
function under our existing organizational  structure.

 The next step in the restructuring process will be to finalize the
section and unit structure of the new divisions.  Considerable effort
has already been devoted to this step.  However, input  from division
chiefs is needed to resolve a number of issues before the detailed
structure can be finalized.  It is anticipated that the detailed
structure will be finalized within the next four weeks.  As soon as it
is finalized, the detailed structure
complete with section and unit chief assignments will be announced.

 We anticipate implementing the new structure in September.  The exact
implementation date will be determined when the detailed structure is
finalized.  Division and assistant division chiefs who are taking early
retirement will assist in the implementation of the new structure and
the transfer of knowledge through their retirement date.

Another part of our restructuring is to close our Shiawassee District
Office.  The staff of that district office will be relocated to
Constitution Hall in Lansing.  The office closure and moves will occur
later this calendar year.  The exact date has yet to be determined.
 I know that any restructuring provides uncertainty to many
individuals.  I am committed to providing details as they are finalized
and minimizing impacts on
employees to the maximum extent possible.  These concerns are why the
chosen organizational structure involved the consolidation of programs
rather than going to a functional structure (permitting division,
inspection division, etc.) which would have been more disruptive.  I
encourage each of you to focus on your current job responsibilities
until the new structure is implemented.  Much important work needs to be
accomplished this summer.

 Questions regarding the departmentís new organization structure should
be addressed to  your division chief.  Division chiefs will work with
Deputy Director Gary Hughes and appropriate central staff to provide
answers as quickly as possible.

 cc:  Brian DeBano, Governorís Office

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