2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Ihray@aol.com
Date: 2 Dec 2002 15:44:26 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] What is wrong with the way the RAB's are set up?
         for <cpeo-military@igc.topica.com>; Sat, 30 Nov 2002 19:09:43
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As a community RAB member serving for four terms with other Com-Chairs,
and serving the fifth term myself as Com-Chair, I conclude that the
Community RAB's effectiveness is marginal by design.  The Dept of the
Army's memorandum SFIM-AEC-ERP (200) "U.S. Army Restoration Advisory
Board and Technical  Assistance for Public Participation Guidance" sets
up the RAB.

A constellation of points from the "Guidance" taken together shows the
pre-arranged conditions for marginal Community RAB function.

* With the "opportunity to participate in the cleanup process."
* To offer "individual advice."
* To require "legal counsel" where "consensus of the RAB" is to be
* To function without presence in the BCT activity.
* As advisory individuals not participating in decisions.
* As reactive individuals after project design.
* To offer individual advice "to the Installation Commander."
* Without knowledge of the "chain-of-command."

The "opportunity to participate" is, in practice, a half-way
opportunity, and nowhere near full participation.  Individuals with the
purest of purpose offer advice in a system that is not accountable to
acknowledge or evaluate advice.  Consensus among the Community RAB is

The DoD design of RABs separates community members in their service,
dilutes and diminishes effort.  A single voice is faint next to a
group.  And a group of unpaid community volunteers cannot be expected to
seek legal counsel unless there is an unresolved serious threat to the
community.  So the disallowing "consensus" among community members is
defeating of the way people work.

Unless the Community RAB is present at BCT functions where decisions are
made, the Community RAB is left to evaluate BCT activity without
accurate or complete information.  The BCT is made of paid civil
servants with attendance of paid contractors - all of similar ilk -
without the balance of the local community.  Community RAB members learn
quickly that their role is reactive, late, and unwelcomed because their
ideas could change plans.  The advising diminishes and carping

Community talent will not stay with the process as ineffective

There is no apparent process for the community RAB to know that advice
is transferred to the Installation Commander or is evaluated somewhere.
That discourages the generation of ideas because their effect can't be

DoD Guidance states, "The Installation Commander must instruct . . . RAB
members with respect to the Army chain-of-command and use (it) to
resolve disagreements or other problems."  Disagreements and problems
aired by the community RAB apparently don't get to the IC.  The RAB asks
but isn't acquainted with the chain-of-command.  Unacknowledged,
unanswered or un-addressed questions and concerns are common problems
that frustrate and  shut off participation.

Suggested remedies.

Full proactive community RAB participation, documented accountable
acknowledgement of community questions and concerns, and evaluation of

The above addresses the questions, "Do you think RABs are effective? Why
or why not?"  If no what needs to be done to improve them?

Ian Ray, member Camp Bonneville, Washington RAB

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