AREA WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITY
23 August, 2000, the Cayuga Lake Watershed Intermunicipal Organization (IO) and
the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network (the Network) participated in a joint meeting
at the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility in Ithaca, New York. The
stated purpose of the meeting was to settle any outstanding differences between
the two groups and to begin the process of defining a joint strategy to promote
future cooperative efforts. The meeting was facilitated by Judith Saul,
Executive Director of the Community Dispute Resolution Center in Ithaca, NY.
A total of 23 individuals attended the meeting.
representative from each group briefly stated the group’s goals.
Significant overlaps in the goals of both organizations were noted. In all
instances the overlapping goals were related to the protection of Cayuga Lake
and its watershed. The main difference noted between the two organizations
included organizational membership (members of the IO are municipal
representatives; members of the IO Technical Committee responsible for writing
the lake characterization and management plan are technical professionals; all
Network members are citizen volunteers) and operational timelines (development
of the management plan as the IO’s immediate, short term goal; support
for development of the management plan as part of the Network’s long term
public education goals).
participants were asked to identify existing concerns negatively impacting the
management planning process. The following concerns were noted and discussed:
of communication – This problem may be alleviated with the development of
communication protocols. This requires each organization to develop a clear
understanding of the other’s internal structure. Many existing committee
members belong to both the IO and the Network. Need to find a way to play up
the benefits of shared membership. A communication protocol should be
developed that will outline how the small groups (committees) report back to
the larger groups. This will become more important as the structure of each
organization continues to evolve.
of representation – This issue was raised as a consequence of strong IO
representation and light Network representation at the joint meeting. The
reason for this was not clear.
of trust – Trust issues are related credit being inappropriately taken
for work completed. This may be the result of the unintentional presentation
of inaccurate or misleading information, especially as it relates to the
relationship between the IO, the Network and the development of the management
plan. A system should be developed to insure that publications containing
organizational or management plan related information would be reviewed by the
Executive Committee of the non-publishing organization prior to release. See
competition for funding.
for funding – Both organizations have independently solicited funding
from the same sources creating confusion and resentment among some grantors.
It was felt that the relationship between the IO, the Network, and development
of the management plan is not always made clear in grant applications and other
funding requests. There is concern that cash contributions have been made with
a particular purpose in mind, but have not been used for that intended purpose.
A possible solution may lie in the creation of a joint finance committee. See
accountability –Requests for documentation related to grant funding and
the use of grant funds have not always been met. There are questions regarding
the use of funds to complete specific actions. A joint finance committee may
be useful in this area.
problems –Due to differences in the nature of both groups, the
operational process required by DOS can not always be met by a volunteer
organization. Specific process problem areas should be identified and a
separate process defined that will work for both groups. Process problems may
simply be the result of one group not understanding the process employed by the
other. This type of misunderstanding can feed mistrust. A clear
inter-organizational understanding of the framework and meeting structure of
both groups will help. Organizational process will become more important as
each group grows and should not be taken lightly or left not understood. See
differences in constituencies.
in constituencies - The significance of this is said to lie in the fact that
municipal officials and technical professionals are accustomed to meeting
scheduled deadlines and working within a defined process while citizen
volunteers do not necessarily have similar project related experiences and
expertise. As a result, the two groups often take different approaches to
similar situations, not as a result of different priorities, but rather, of
different timeframes and methods of operation.
structure – Both organizations are relatively new. They are both growing
and evolving. A mechanism should be established that allows both organizations
to better understand each other’s current and anticipated organizational
structures and how evolution will likely impact future interactions between the
–It was stated that three years is not enough time to do a credible job
of developing a watershed management plan. Both organizations acknowledged
that the plan will continue to evolve after the three-year deadline, but that
the NYS Department of State, who is funding development of the management plan,
has imposed certain time constraints. These deadlines must be recognized and
met as contractual obligations.
this portion of the discussion, it was widely agreed that the problems of the
past should be left in the past and that the two organizations should focus
entirely on the protection of the Lake and the watershed. To facilitate
increased effectiveness and efficiency of both organizations; it was suggested
that the IO/Network Joint Strategy Committee be charged with developing a
statement of common goals based on identification of organizational issues and
priorities. These common goals should then form the basis for developing a
long-term plan of action that fits the visions and expectations of a ten-year
management planning process into the reality of the DOS three-year contract.
To aid in this and other Joint Committee tasks, it was recommended that the
Joint Committee develop and maintain a set of organizational charts that
clarify the decision-making processes and committee structures of each
was further recommended that the Joint Committee be charged with developing a
communications protocol for the purpose of keeping both Executive Committees
apprized of the all sub-committee actions and findings. This might include
taking responsibility for circulating committee-meeting minutes to the
Executive Committees. Additional communication responsibilities should include
timely distribution of all pending publications for review by the
non-publishing organization prior to publication.
Joint Committee should maintain an active and open dialog on organizational
differences and work to build an intermediate process that will allow each
organization to meet not only its own needs, but the interdependent needs of
the other organization as well. (An example of an interdependent needs is
timely provision of financial documentation for in-kind services provided.)
was also suggested that a separate Joint Finance Committee be formed for the
purpose of keeping both organizations informed of pending grant applications.
This will increase opportunities for collaborative grant applications and
reduce the risk of duplicate applications.
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Cayuga Lake Watershed
CLW IO 2002