It was interesting the response of the crowd. Some were vehemently opposed to it. It appeared that many of these folks were septic designers and they were concerned they would lose their one day turnaround for septic approvals. One day! Holy smokes, if we had one day turnaround in wetland applications, I and my clients would be happy campers!
Despite the statements from Rene and Gene that the one day turnarounds for septic applications would remain, the opposing folks just did not believe the reorganization would work. Many thought that new, less experienced staff touching the applications would lead to more delays and more “requests for information” letters being sent out. Rene and Gene assured that this would not happen overnight and the staff was already undergoing multidisciplinary training. The bottom line is that DES has to do more with less, and this reorganization may be the only way the Department can handle the workload.
So, what to think of this?
I have a small company. We do lots of things: wetland delineation, wetland mitigation, wetland application preparation, wetland restoration, endangered species studies, vernal pool studies, soil mapping, test pits, project impact analysis, avoidance and minimization reports, functional assessments, etc. We cross-train all the time. If our folks are not able to do a number of things, then they don’t stay long with my company. I can’t have one person buried in work and another person waiting for the phone to ring. A business can’t operate that way! Are some folks better at one thing than another? Of course! People are not all the same, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do multiple things, and do them well.
A few years ago, in Tom Burack’s first term as Commissioner of DES, I had a meeting with him to suggest that staff could be better utilized by cross-training, putting them all into one group and I called it the Land Use Management Program. Tom gleefully pointed out to me that the anachronism was LUMP. Let’s lump all these folks together! At the time, I was pushing to have more folks from the other bureaus helping out the wetlands staff to reduce the turnaround time for wetland applications. I guess I was just too early. I had to wait to Tom’s second term to see this cross-training and combining. And you know what, I still think it is a good idea!
We are looking at 75 days or more turnaround on wetland applications. You submit a relatively simple, straight-forward application and then call the staff who has been assigned. And then you are told that “yes, it seems like we can permit this wetland impact, but there are 16 applications in front of yours”. Dang!
I still can’t believe the septic designers get a one day turnaround for their septic applications.
So, I support this reorganization. I believe in using your staff wisely and putting more staff resources into a program that is bogging down due to numerous applications. Once the backlog is caught up, those staff resources can be moved to another program. These days, if you are not cross-trained, you may just be out.
Honestly, in my company, it’s a no-brainer. You need help, someone comes over and helps. That is the way to maintain productivity and client satisfaction.
The deadline for comments to the DES about the reorganization is November 27th. Please let them know what you think.
You already know what I think!
“In My View” is an opinion article that will be emailed to you once a month. It is my view of wetland and other environmental issues that will or may affect your business or organization. It will sometimes give you updates on new rules or legislation that has recently passed. In other cases, I will discuss legislation that is “in the works” at our state capital. As the name would imply, it is my view of what this rule, legislation or change means to you. I am constantly meeting with clients, friends and local regulatory officials who are asking me what this rule means or what that piece of legislation does. For that reason, I am sending this out to associates of GES who might care to have this information. I will not be political, but I do reserve the right to be opinionated. If you do not wish to receive further articles, let us know by a “reply to”, and we will delete your name. If you know of someone who might want to receive future articles, just send this on to them and copy us. We will add them to the distribution list. If in the coming months there is a topic, law, rule or regulation that you would like me to discuss, let us know. If I feel that I am competent to say something about it, I will discuss it in the future.
That concludes this Months article. Each past article will be stored on our website at www.gesinc.biz or Google: Gove Environmental Services, Inc. I hope this will be of value to you.
603-778-0644 ext. 15