AUGUST 23, 2000


On 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.

A 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).

Meeting participants were asked to identify existing concerns negatively impacting the management planning process. The following concerns were noted and discussed:

Following 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 organization.

It 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.

The 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.)

It 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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