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Video: Bi-State's Sustainability Plan Presentation to Scott County Board

Scott County Board Does Not Understand It Can Take Action When and How It Wishes 
Rubber Stamping Averted - For Now


[APRIL 8 UPDATE: On April 5th County Administrator Dee Bruemmer provided a written response to the series of questions IFA delivered to the Board at the March 29 meeting. Those questions & staff's answers are at the end of this blog posting below. Contact phone & email info for Scott County Board of Supervisors available HERE.]

DAVENPORT, IOWA - March 29, 2011 |  It is painful to watch the slow creep of another layer of top down unelected policy decision making -- another layer of unaccountable government - being born right before your very eyes. 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAOaobwQ9IE ]

At the Committee of the Whole meeting of the Scott County Board of Supervisors meeting, Bi-State Regional Commission's Gena McCollough makes the first public presentation to the Board of the proposed Sustainability Plan for Scott County. County staff was authorized to contract the development of this plan with Bi-State (known to some on the county board as "our regional council of governments") a year ago. It was funded by a $50,000 federal department of energy grant.

Some of the advisory committee meetings from last fall were attended by IFA members and videos from those meetings are available here. The presentation in the first ten minutes covers the makeup and membership of that advisory committee and what it contributed. 

What is at risk if this plan is adopted, is the slow creep of another top down bureaucracy, laden with draconian land and personal property management/control enforcement by fiat - aka policy or regulation -- in other words "soft law." 


[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAOaobwQ9IE]

The four 10 min videos, recording the presentation and subsequent refreshingly atypical Q&A between the board, McCollough and county staff, are now on the IFA youtube channel and embedded below.

There had been no public announcement of the availability of the DRAFT Sustainability Plan until this March 29, 2011 meeting. It had been online for about two weeks prior to this meeting. Staff recommends to the board that 4 weeks of publicly available commenting online is sufficient before a board action to officially adopt this Plan is voted on. There is no discussion as to whether that public comment will be taken into consideration, if so, how and when. (Note: the county has posted 3 responses at this pdf as of this April 5 blog posting: Received Comments (22.7 KB)

The makeup and purpose of the Plan's proposed Sustainable Solutions Committee is discussed. It is agreed upon between staff and the board that the board themselves will get to have influence on naming this committee. Details of that process, nor the stated purpose of this committee, as defined in the plan on page 33, are discussed. The board is left to believe that the sole purpose of this committee is to help propose content for a website or "toolbox" for the community about sustainability. This is the new fiefdom being created folks. The SSC...  from page 33:
Incorporate Sustainability into Fiscal Policy and Decision-Making (Page 11) Create a checklist to evaluate decisions supporting sustainability.
Timeline: Year 1 Action: Utilize Sustainable Solutions Committee to develop check list as evaluation
tool. Refer to sample from New Community Design to the Rescue – Fulfilling Another American Dream, National Governors Association, 2001, and explore others.
The memo to the board for this topic at this meeting, included the following statement: 
"There is no action for the Board to take at this time. The plan is simply presented for review, comment and consideration. After a public review period, I plan to ask that the Board consider adoption of the plan at one of their regular Board meetings during the month of April."

What is potentially lost on this board of supervisors is that despite the instructions from staff, this board CAN take ACTION if they wish, at any meeting. It does not have to be on the staff supplied agenda to make a motion and second it and discuss and vote on a course of action.


[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAOaobwQ9IE]


To wit, Jim Hancock asks Administrator Dee Breummer if the board is going to have any input or say in the make up of the primary action step in the Plan -- establishing a Solutions Committee to recommend best practices on fiscal policy that impacts the sustainability plan's goals. 

Nothing is stopping this board from establishing the Sustainability Solutions Committee right there on the spot. It is painful to watch the slow creep of another layer of top down unelected policy decision making  -- that is here, via staff directing the board, rather than the other way around. But it is encouraging that these board members are sensing that this is something big coming their way. They do ask about increased cost in time and money on staff resources. 




What is most especially frustrating is to hear the county administrator state that a benefit of this Plan will be that as "government's have less and less money, they are going to have to make tough decisions."  This coming from a staff that shepherded through the approval of a $2.6M budget increase -- the largest budget in the history of the county.  What do you mean less and less money for governments? 

If you understand Agenda 21 and the "global to local" threats its long term plan poses to our liberties (Rubber-Stamping Agenda 21 Starts in Scott County), you can skip the first 10 minutes and get to the 2nd and 3rd videos where staff and board are going back and forth.  There are some key comments made by staff. 

Here is the Sustainability Plan Agenda packet one sheet that was before the board today
with a link in it to the actual plan and public commenting box at the website


[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAOaobwQ9IE]
April 5, 2011
TO:   Board of Supervisors
FROM: Dee F. Bruemmer, County Administrator
SUBJECT: Responses to Todd McGreevy's Sustainability Plan Review Questions
To: Scott County Board of Supervisors 
From: Todd McGreevy 

Re: Sustainability Plan Review 

Dear Supervisors, 

Please answer or request answers to the following questions during your March 29, 2011 committee of the whole review of the Sustainability Plan presentation. 

1. The March 23 Memo from Dave Donovan states:
"Those (electronic public) comments will be forwarded to me for compilation and presentation at a later date." 

a) Will staff provide all of the comments submitted by the public via the website, unfiltered and unedited, to the board and those who request a copy?  
Submitted comments will be provided to the Board unedited and unfiltered and available on the website for review.
b) How many days prior to a request to vote for adoption will these comments be provided to the board and public?  
Comments are available on the webpage and updated frequently. All comments will be reviewed by the Board.
c) What is the purpose and function of accepting public comment?  
Will this board be willing to make edits/changes to Plan based on any of the public comment?
Additional input from residents is always welcomed. The Board will review the plan and consider comments from the public and fellow board members.

2. The March 23rd Memo from Dave Donovan states: 

"There is no action for the Board to take at this time. The plan is simply presented for review, comment and consideration. After a public review period, I plan to ask that the Board consider adoption of the plan at one of their regular Board meetings during the month of April." 

a) Will this request for adoption be in the form of a Resolution or an Ordinance, or other form?  
The Board has several options regarding the acceptance of the plan. However, it will not be an ordinance because it will not become law. The Board can accept the document by resolution or motion.

b) Based on what form of request to Adopt this plan, what is the lawful requirement for public hearings and/or "readings" at county meetings?   
There are no public hearing requirements for the review.

c) How will the board direct staff to make any changes to this Plan, if necessary?
The Board will suggest changes and the staff will make them to the document. 

3.  On page 33 the Plan calls for creation of a Sustainable Solutions Committee. 

a) Will the membership of the "Sustainable Solutions" committee be limited to "Partnering Organizations" named in this Plan?  
The solution committee envisioned in the plan would be individuals who have resource documents available for inclusion and contacts with other organizations and governments who have Best Practices.

b) Will the SS committee require a budget to operate? Has it been budgeted?
No operating budget will be provided. The work will be in-kind staff time to develop links and work with the web pages. County staff will continue to work as a green team for events and programs that the county sponsors or takes an active role.

c) Will the SS committee meetings be publicized with sufficient notice to the public? Will their meetings be open to the public and will minutes be published?
Staff meetings are not required to be open to the public. At this time, there is no anticipation of minutes being recorded for public review. Results of the staff work will be available on the web page.

4) The over goals of the Plan include:  
"Identify new ways of becoming more sustainable to reduce waste, save resources, improve the environment, educate residents, motivate change and focus action." 

a) What does staff consider to be the top 5 "changes" that this plan hopes to "motivate"?
The information is intended to be a resource for anyone who visits the web page or reviews the document. Staff can not anticipate how individuals or organizations will benefit from the variety of reference materials. Nor can we gauge the benefits of sharing examples of programs and agencies working in the various subject matters.

5) What is the worst case scenario if this Board of Supervisors declines to adopt the Plan? What ramifications will that have on the tax payers of Scott County?  
If the Board declines to accept the plan; the reference material will remain available as a public comment.


Thank you,
Todd McGreevy 
563-650-0120 
todd.mcgreevy@gmail.com 

3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. their presentation said something completely different than their oral answers. Your stories aren't compatible! Dee, who do you work for?

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  3. your presentation clearly states it would like to influence cirriculum. And when you are asked about what you want to do, your verbal response (mummbles and fumbles (Dee)) is that you want a toolbox on your website...Which is it? Here's my version of what you are doing. You're gonna feed us and everyone who is listening a whole bunch of garbage and regardless of what you say and we think you're going to get away with creating another massive County Bureaucracy bent on influencing private actions. Knib high football rules!!!!

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