04.21 Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

OPERATIONS COMMITTEE

 

REGULAR MEETING APPROVED MINUTES

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010, 5:00 P.M.

Department of the Environment Eco Center

11 Grove Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

 


COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Commissioners Alan Mok (Chair), Jane MarieFrancis Martin, and Matt Tuchow

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS


1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Operations Committee meeting convened at 5:10 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Mok, Martin and Tuchow (5:25 p.m.)

 

Item 2 was heard after Item 7.

 

2.      Approval of Minutes of the January 20, 2010 Operations Committee Rescheduled Meeting. (Explanatory Document: January 20, 2010 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Mok and second by Commissioner Tuchow, the January 20, 2010 Meeting Minutes were approved (AYES:  Commissioners Mok, Tuchow and *Martin; Noes:  None). *Note: Commissioner Martin requested that a notation be made that she was not a member at the time of the January 20, 2010 meeting and is approving the meeting minutes based on the other members verification of its accuracy.   Ms. Fish stated that she would provide legal counsel response on the process for approving meeting minutes when a member is not present for a meeting.

 

3.      Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public present at this time.

 

Item 7 was heard before Items 4-6.
 

4.      Review and Approval of Department of the Environment Funding Recommendations for Environmental Justice Grants. Sponsor:  David Assmann, Acting Director; Speaker:  Anne Eng, Environmental Justice Program Manager (Explanatory Document: Environmental Justice Program Funding Recommendations for Grant Awards (2010-2012) (Discussion and Action)

 

Ms. Eng reported that the Department's Environmental Justice (EJ) grants were initially established with $13 million in state funds, most of which have been disbursed since 2000.  The Department's EJ program will be concluding its grant program with disbursement of final grant awards over the next two years.  The EJ program is recommending grant awards to four different non-profit groups, covering fiscal years 2010-11 and 2011-12, for a combined total of approximately $165,000.  Two of the awards are for one-year terms, and two are for two-year terms.  In past years, an average of $500,000 was disbursed per year, so there is a significant reduction in the amount of money left to disburse for the final funding cycle. 

 

Commissioner Tuchow inquired about the source of grant funding.  Ms. Eng explained that state money originally came to the City through a state appropriation, as a result of PG&E divestiture proceedings. The Department has been managing the grant funds for the past ten years.  Commissioner Tuchow inquired how the $13 million was appropriated.  Ms. Eng explained that $13 million was originally provided by the state legislature as part of California Public Utilities Commission's budget in 1998, and the funds were transferred to the City to address community environmental concerns in the Southeast neighborhoods of Bayview-Hunters Point and Potrero Hill, where fossil-fueled power plants had been operating.  Over $8 million was awarded in grants in the first year, and that more reasonable sized grants were awarded through the following years.  The recommended grant awards covering the next two years will be considered the last funding cycle.  For the past ten years, EJ grant funds have been awarded to non-profit groups to address environmental concerns in the Southeast area and to help fund the Department EJ program's staffing costs.  

 

Commissioner Tuchow inquired whether the money could be used to create a sustainable fund.  Ms. Eng stated that it was not possible for the money to be placed in a fund to earn interest because it was placed on reserve with the Board of Supervisors, and every year a formal request has to be made for a release of the EJ grant funds from reserve. She explained that the recommended grant awards are being aired in a public process before the Operations Committee, the full Commission at their July meeting, and the Board of Supervisors' Finance Committee when the funds are released from reserve. 

 

Commissioner Tuchow inquired how the finalists were selected. Ms. Eng explained that finalists were selected through a structured, objective, competitive process.  Grant applications were received after issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP).  Applications were reviewed for completeness, and a panel of readers read and scored proposals. Applications receiving a score of 70 or higher were invited for an oral interview.  Applicants were scored based on a combined total of their written and oral scores, and based on that ranking, funding recommendations were made.  Out of the ten applications received, four were selected for funding.  Grantees would be informed after today’s meeting that their awards have been conditionally approved and subject to review and approval by the Commission and the Board of Supervisors Finance Committee.

 

Ms. Eng reported that the four grantees selected include (1) Bret Harte Elementary School’s Parents Teacher Association (PTA) proposal to develop and maintain a gardening project at the school campus that integrates the core curriculum (math, science, language arts) with hands-on science learning and gardening lessons; (2) Literacy for Environmental Justice proposal to expand and maintain a native plant nursery located at the Candlestick State Park in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood; (3) Urban Sprouts proposal to operate and maintain a school garden and a garden-based environmental leadership program at International Studies Academy in Potrero Hill, to improve youth and their families' access to nutritious and fresh produce and their knowledge of gardening and local food systems; and (4) Southeast Food Access Workgroup proposal to develop and operate the Food Guardians project, to increase the capacity of local residents and community organizations in Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood to advocate for easy access to healthy food, develop educational experiences that support the growing, healthful preparation and regular consumption of healthy food, and monitor grocery stores in the community (see Environmental Justice Funding Recommendations Explanatory Document).    
 

Commissioner Mok motioned, second by Commissioner Tuchow to recuse Commissioner Martin from voting (AYES:  Commissioners Mok and Tuchow).  Commissioner Tuchow motioned, second by Commissioner Mok to approve Environmental Justice funding recommendations for recommendation to the full Commission at the July 27, 2010 meeting.

 

5.      Review and Approval of Department of the Environment Funding Recommendations for Zero Waste Grants. Sponsor:  David Assmann, Acting Director; Speaker:  Kevin Drew, Residential Zero Waste Coordinator (Explanatory Document: Zero Waste Program Funding Recommendations for Grant Awards as Amended (2010-2012) (Discussion and Action)

 

Mr. Drew reported that the Zero Waste Program has been awarding grants to community groups since the early 1980’s. The Department of the Environment has funded non-profits that at that time were just starting, which was pre-curbside when community groups were some of the only recycling opportunities in the City.  This program has continued unabated for the last 20+ years.  Mr. Drew reported that a two-year award of $1.2 million dollars, approximately $600,000 each year, would be awarded for the next two years to thirteen groups.  He explained that grant funding has decreased over the past budget years because of shifting of funds to other program areas to provide zero waste services; e.g., the Outreach program to provide multi-family outreach. Mr. Drew reported that thirteen grant awards are being recommended from twenty-two proposals received.  He stated that the proposals received this year were different and better written than in the past possibly because of the switch from a one-year to two-year application process. 

 

Mr. Drew reported that the Zero Waste and Environmental Justice grant application process was separate in the past, and staff had worked very hard to combine the two in the last five years, particularly in the past two years. The structure has been very helpful. He explained that the selection process was similar to the Environmental Justice process and there was a cross over of staff participation in the interview panel in order to attain a professional perspective.  A member of Recology also participated in the process.  Commissioner Tuchow inquired about the source of grant funding. Mr. Drew explained that funding is from the Impound Account. Commissioner Mok inquired how many grants were awarded in the previous cycle.  Mr. Drew stated that 11 grantees were selected for a two-year cycle in the previous term.  He explained that a two-year application process is more efficient than the one-year because it resulted in better proposals received.  

 

Ms. Kielty stated that everyone interviewed in the final selection process received funding, but amounts are less than what was requested.  Three new groups were selected for funding recommendations, Connect the Dots, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, and Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District. Mr. Drew explained that dollar amounts would be finalized and brought to the Commission in July after the Department budget has been finalized. It was stated that grantees were selected based on performance criteria of tons diversion that is derived from quarterly reports provided by the grantees. 

 

Commissioner Tuchow inquired whether the Impound Account amount varies from year to year. Mr. Salem explained that the Impound funds are tied to the five-year rate process. Every five years, a schedule is set of what the Department receives from garbage rates and does increase every year. The line amount for grants is set for total dollars by program area.  Mr. Drew explained that the rate process is set through the garbage rates for a single 32-gallon can so all Department and Recology’s activities have to be paid for through that rate.  He explained that in the current rate process that started in 2007, there are line-item projections for five years for grants as well as outreach. Money can be moved around in these categories.  Commissioner Tuchow inquired whether there was discretion in the number of grantees that should be selected.  Mr. Drew stated that there is discretion in the grant-making process, and that direction can be given through the Commission or the Mayor.  He stated that the theory is to involve a lot of groups in order to reach zero waste.  Then the objective would be to prepare a zero waste plan that would feed into a green economy and create green jobs.

 

Upon Motion by Commissioner Tuchow and second by Commissioner Mok, Commissioner Martin was recused (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow and Mok).  Upon Motion by Commissioner Tuchow and second by Commissioner Mok, the Zero Waste Grant Program Funding Recommendations were approved for recommendation to the Commission at their July 27, 2010 meeting.

 

6.      EnvironmentNow Program Status Report and Integration into Department Programs. Sponsor: Commissioner Alan Mok; Staff Speaker: Donald Oliveira, Green Jobs Coordinator (Explanatory Documents:  Environment Now by Numbers and Environment Now Activity Calendar (Informational Report and Discussion)   

 

Mr. Oliveira reported that the EnvironmentNow Program has three coordinators assigned to 35 public service trainees.  He described challenges that the job-training program is facing such as retention and not having enough coordinators to manage the number of staff and provide the type of services required, e.g., counseling, quality control of information provided, and providing assessments.  Program staff has been reduced from 40 to 35 in the last few weeks--attrition and the ability to fill existing positions is being experienced. 

 

Mr. Oliveira stated that program staff is working in the City every day on fifteen unique campaigns/projects that require specific training, deliverables, outreach material, and tracking.  He discussed the successes of the program as explained in the Explanatory Document “Environment by the Numbers.”  He stated that staff has visited 1600 businesses for the Energy Watch program, 75 apartment complexes to set up recycling and composting services for the Green Apartment program, 500 trees were planted by urban forest teams, 3000 businesses visited promoting the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, 7200 phone calls made to Districts 9 and 10 regarding recycling, composting and hazardous waste management, 100% increase in composting collection in District 10 since Zero Waste, Residential Outreach Team began door-to-door campaign, and 500 businesses were visited for Styrobusting Program. 

 

Mr. Oliveira distributed a Sunday through Saturday schedule of EnvironmentNow activities (see explanatory document).  He stated that there are 15 programs, and each program has a varying amount of hours per week with different crews and shifts assigned.  Each project requires the coordinator to determine assignments, identify who is capable and trained, how long programs will last, who will train and supervise staff, identify required materials, and relay accurate information.  Mr. Oliveira stated that the program is growing faster than is expected and would be more manageable if three coordinators were assigned to manage twenty people working on five projects, as was the case in the beginning of the program.

 

Commissioner Mok inquired how the EnvironmentNow program would be integrated into the Department’s Outreach program.  Mr. Oliveira stated that EnvironmentNow coordinators rely on the Outreach team for support in terms of strategizing and production of material for dissemination to residents and businesses.  Program staff provides feedback to the Outreach Team to include in the outreach material. They are in a holding pattern until Department programs provide work for EnvironmentNow staff. He explained that in the beginning of the program, he was requesting projects from staff, and now there are more projects than are manageable, so next steps are being considered.  Ms. Eng stated that there are approximately ten people in the Public Outreach team. Half are in the School Education team working on activities such as school assemblies, and the other half are working on activities such as creating marketing materials, working with contractors, creating brochures and advertising, and web-page design. The EnvironmentNow team actually goes out to residents and businesses in the community to provide more direct contact than the Outreach Team.    

 

Mr. Oliveria reported that the program is scheduled for continuation in the future and discussed next steps being considered that include (1) hiring an additional coordinator; (2) coordination of activities with the Outreach team; and (3) providing job counseling skills, e.g. resume preparation, identifying future career paths. Commissioner Martin asked if the intent of the program was to hire 100 staff.  Mr. Oliveira stated that figure was selected before it was understood what type of management was required.  

 

Commissioner Martin inquired whether there was a possibility for the program to grow if additional coordinators were hired.  Mr. Oliveira confirmed that would be the case.  He explained that staff’s job levels are not consistent and suggested that there be two coordinators assigned to ten people. Currently, staff is managing two programs (1) for staff that are job-ready and (2) others that require teaching of soft skills.  Commissioner Martin suggested hiring people within the applicant pool to manage staff. Mr. Oliveira explained that there are people in the program that are ready to be leaders, and he is working on a job reclassification for those individuals. He explained that the EnvironmentNow Program is suitable for people who have successfully completed job-training programs through Good Will, Clean Cities Conservation Corp, and who have staff to work through barriers, and then come to work at the Department of the Environment to increase their ceiling.

 

Commissioner Tuchow left the meeting at this time (6:15 p.m.)

Item 7 was heard before Items 4-6.

 

7.      Department of the Environment’s Draft Budget Update for Fiscal Year 2010-11.  Staff Speakers:  Joseph Salem, Budget and Finance Manager (Informational Report and Discussion)   (Explanatory Documents:  Department of the Environment Draft Budget 2010-11 by Program and 2010-11 Budget Detail).

 

Mr. Salem reported that the only change to the budget since it was presented to the Operations Committee at the January 20, 2010 meeting was the Energy Watch grant totals which changed to a one-fiscal year term from a three-year term. The budget presented to the Commission on January 26th and the budget presented today reflects only the net fiscal year’s budgeted amount for the Energy Watch grant program, and reduces the Department’s total budget from $25 million to $19,465,000.  Mr. Salem explained that the budget would dramatically change once the unions ratify agreements to implement furloughs and reduce salaries by 4.62%.  Once that happens, all salaries and smaller portions of benefits would be reduced, and all budget numbers would change as a result.  Commissioner Mok inquired about the hearing schedule to approve the budget.  Mr. Salem reported that the Department’s budget is scheduled to be heard at the Board of Supervisors on June 17 and 24. 

 

Mr. Salem discussed the Department’s program area budget and provided comparisons from the previous fiscal year to the current.  He explained that the Environmental Justice program was reduced because they would be granting out less next year than in previous years. There is a lower budget for grants in 2010-11 than 2009-10 which accounts for almost all of the 46% decrease.  Ms. Eng, Environmental Justice Program Manager, explained that the Department has been managing a $13 million fund for ten years which is decreasing. Approximately $500,000 in grant money was allocated in previous fiscal years.  This year, grants would be reduced to $105,000 because of a reduction in funds available in the $13 million fund.  Commissioner Martin asked whether there would be grants pursued in the future.  Ms. Eng reported that fundraising has been successful through the years and is continuing for various projects and services that would be factored in the budget at a later date. Commissioner Martin requested information about the difference in the non-personal services figure of $15,200 in 2010-11 and $3,500 in 2009-10.  Mr. Salem confirmed that figure was incorrect and totals would change as a result.  He reported that there was also a reduction in grants in the Toxics Reduction program.

 

Commissioner Martin inquired about the reduction in the Clean Air program figures for services of other departments.  Mr. Salem explained that he believes that the $300,000 in 2009-10 were for grants to the Taxi Commission to offset green taxi purchases.  He explained that this category reflects payments to other departments for a service that is paid from grants received.  Mr. Salem reported that Clean Air Commuter Benefits program services of other departments were reclassified and would be reflected in recovery figures, not expenditure totals. Commissioner Tuchow joined the meeting at this time. 

 

Commissioner Martin inquired about the 132% increase in the Clean Air program for non-personal services.  Mr. Salem explained that this category covers everything from travel to subscriptions, memberships, professional services, and space rental.  He stated that this particular increase was a result of additional grants received for additional professional services, e.g. for services of a Commuter Benefits Administrator.  Commissioner Martin inquired about the zero figure listed for Green Building materials and supplies.  Mr. Salem stated that Administration purchases offices supplies for program areas.  This particular category is for purchases of tangible items such as waste and recycling bins, products that are purchased that are physical items and not part of the functioning of the Department.  Commissioner Martin inquired about the 99% decrease in non-personal services in Outreach.  Mr. Salem explained that a large part of the funding for Outreach was from the Department of Conservation bottle bill which was taken away by the state.  Word was received this week that a portion of that funding would be reinstated this year and next.  As a result, the non-personal services budget would increase by approximately $109,000 for the next fiscal year.

 

Mr. Salem reported that the increase in Administration salaries and benefits is based on the fact that in this fiscal year the Mayor’s Office increased attrition by $200,000, and the Department did not experience near that attrition in this fiscal year and is not expected to in the next fiscal year, so the negative dollar amount of attrition was removed.  The figure looks like an increase but reflects actual expenditures.  Administration non-personal services is increasing mostly because of space rental for the Environment Now program at 401 Van Ness, 11 Grove rent increases, for converting basement to more meeting space, so meeting space on the first floor can be converted to people space.  Administration materials and supplies category increased because funding was cut for this fiscal year by the Board of Supervisors, and money is needed to upgrade 80% of older computers. A discussion was held on City purchasing procedures for electronic purchases. 

 

8.      New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion) Ms. Fish reported that the next Operations Committee meeting is scheduled for July 21, 2010 and an agenda planning session would be scheduled. 

 

9.      Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public present at this time.

 

10.  Adjournment.  The Operations Committee Meeting adjourned at 6:17 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393

 

*Approved:  July 21, 2010

 

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