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[GreenYes] Re: Citizen Advisory Committee

I've been a member of numerous citizens advisory boards, most in
Manhattan. They've been set up in numerous ways. The first was an
outgrowth of an offiicial citizens' advisory committee set up under
208 water quality planning by EPA in the 1970s. It lasted another 10
years or so, held forums and advised the city council, and for one
year advised the City DEP officially. This body was voluntary and
everyone was accepted for membership. I used this body to propose and
help pass legislation to eliminate 2200 apartment building
incinerators in New York City (signed 1989, implemented 1993).

The NYC Sanitation dept. set up five CAC's (one for each borough) to
evaluate its incinerator plans and then Local Law 19 of 1989 set up
five citizens' solid waste advisory boards plus a citywide recycling
advisory board. I have the parts of Local Law 19 on my website,
below. These were strictly advisory and the Sanitation dept. would
sometimes send an employee to meetings, but mostly ignored the boards
and its recommendations. The City Council paid attention and often
agreed with the boards. I was on Manhattan's since 1988 as chair for
2 and vice chair for 6, and the citywide since 1990, having testified
numerous times and having secured funding for the boards from the City
Council a few years ago. For most of the time, these bodies decided
for themselves how to organize themselves, what was important to
debate, which items to testify to the city council about, and so
forth. Recently the Manhattan board underwent major change, and many
of the long-standing members, most of whom had been leaders, either
didn't reapply or were outright rejected by the Manhattan Borough
President, when they reapplied for membership (an unprecedented action
for any of the boards), and were replaced by business and real estate
interests. More about some of these boards and LL19 are on one of my
websites: The
bodies have been responsible for recommending important improvements
to the city's waste prevention and recycling programs and solid waste
management plans that have been eventually implemented (e.g., weekly
recycling, targeting bulk paper) though credit to the bodies was never
given. Many members left the bodies along the way because it was

In Philadelphia there is a RAC (Recycling advisory committee, I
believe). I have fewer details on this, but I understand that in the
beginning, this was a very powerful body that created recycling policy
for the city, and the City's Streets dept. would implement the
policies that the RAC created. This was later changed, and I'm not
sure what happened to the body after that.

Maggie Clarke, Ph.D.

> >What sort of document might be appropriate to dictate roles and
> >responsibilities, ensuring that the recommendations of the committee
> >will be implemented by the County, whenever appropriate, if we are not
> >able to form a legally/technically defined Citizens Advisory Committee?

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