2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 13:37:14 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Air Force letter to McClellan RAB
[Here is the text of the Air Force letter dissolving the McClellan Air
Force Base (California) Restoration Advisory Board. - LS]

Dear Restoration Advisory Board Member

The next 2 years are critical to the Air Force environmental program at
McClellan as we integrate cleanup with conversion to civilian use.
Public input in the cleanup and conversion process is vital. The
Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) is an important means for obtaining
advice and public involvement for the Air Force and for the community.
The present RAB fails to perform this role due to its lack of diversity
which is necessary to increase community involvement; its unwillingness
to make charter changes that reflect base closure issues; and some
personal agendas that dominate the public meetings, reducing public
attendance and participation significantly. Efforts over the last 2
months to work together constructively to improve the RAB process have
failed to adequately address the needs of all interested stakeholders.
Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that the only way to achieve
the goal of a RAB that involves the whole community is to dissolve the
existing RAB and reconstruct a board that is more diverse to better
represent and serve the community.

Effective 10 May 2000, the Restoration Advisory Board is dissolved. At
the same time, I am initiating action to ensure that a community
advisory board is in place prior to transitioning this community program
to the Air Force Base Conversion Agency (AFBCA). While a new board is
being formed, the Air Force along with the federal and state regulatory
agencies will hold frequent public meetings to reach out to the
community to involve them in McClellan's environmental program.

As you know, on 13 March 2000, I met with your RAB leadership and
presented three key issues that needed to be addressed before the
oversight of RAB responsibilities is transitioned to the AFBCA in
preparation for the closure of McClellan. Brigadier General Wiedemer,
then Sacramento Air Logistics Center Commander, mailed a letter to all
of the RAB members outlining the issues and presenting a draft revision
of the RAB charter. General Wiedemer and I asked that you work with us
to improve the RAB process so it would be a balanced and open forum for
community involvement with effective two-way communication. In addition,
we asked that new stakeholders be added to the board to improve the
diversity of the RAB.

The Air Force offered to reschedule the postponed Executive RAB session
so all the members could discuss the issues. I asked the community
member leadership to meet with me on two occasions so we could discuss
the progress of the proposals. All of these opportunities to discuss the
issues the Air Force presented were turned down by the community
co-chair representing the community RAB members. The only forum in which
the current RAB members discussed the issues with the Air Force was the
public RAB meeting on 19 April 2000. At that meeting we requested input
from all RAB members. Members were encouraged to provide any additional
input by 1 May 2000. After the meeting, I received additional comments
from the RAB members representing the regulatory agencies. Members of my
staff made telephone calls to the individual members of the RAB several
days after the public meeting to encourage the individual members to
provide input on improving the process by the 1 May deadline.

Based on lack of input and constructive participation to achieve
necessary changes, I have made my decision to take steps to reformulate
the advisory board. A new advisory board membership drive will be held
from June through August 2000. Applications will be widely distributed
and available throughout the community via mass mailing and public
meetings. If you would like to continue working the environmental
cleanup issues, our decision to reformulate the RAB does not exclude you
from reapplying for membership. Each former RAB member will be
specifically added to the application mailing list. Your application
will be considered along with other potential candidates for the new
advisory board.

The Air Force appreciates all the time and efforts put forth by the
volunteer community members over the past 5 years. The Air Force
encourages your continued community interest in the McClellan
environmental cleanup program as we move forward in our cleanup efforts.


Charles A. Cotter, Jr., Col, USAF
Commander, 77th Air Base Wing


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/968-1126

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