|Current Water Induswtry Council Projects
Refine EPA Privatization Guidelines: The WIC is working with EPA's privatization office in developing guidelines for public-private sector transactions. WIC has been able to assure that the review and approval process required of municipalities by EPA is clear, simple and inexpensive. WIC is now planning a series of seminars to present these guidelines to municipal leaders and providing continuing assistance to them through the review and approval process.
WIC-ICMA Peer Seminars and Privatization Guidelines: WIC has joined with the International City/County Managers Assoc., to request a grant from EPA for a series of seminars to:
Representatives of our industry will be selected by the WIC to present these one-day seminars. We expect the association with ICMA and the funding of EPA to lend credibility to our presentations that an industry association, on its own, would have difficulty achieving. I believe EPA will fund other educational initiatives for WIC.
Develop an industry standard for municipal procurement of private services: We are developing industry procurement guidelines for municipalities. If successful a universal standard should combat inefficient and failed procurements that are often characterized by "managed competition" and overly expensive third-party consultant involvement. Industry leaders such as United Water, OMI, Severn Trent, etc., are developing these guidelines for the WIC. We expect to utilize our relations with municipal trade associations such as the International City/County Managers Assoc., to gain acceptance of these standards from our municipal clients.
Media Campaign: WIC is now evaluating a national survey of the public's attitude toward our industry. Developing a prototype of a media program for the WIC or its members will follow this work.
What We've Done
State Legislation: With guidance from our member companies, the WIC determined that certain states, such as New York, needed legislative revisions to allow for long-term wastewater contracts. Employing the lobbying efforts of a recent Speaker of the House for the New York State Assembly, the WIC negotiated with the state legislature and organized labor to develop a bill which unanimously passed the state Senate and Assembly. This new law, resubmitted for any county in the State, would allow American Water Services to pursue 25-year wastewater operations or system acquisition in New York. We are prepared to perform the same service in other areas as well.
Labor Relations: The WIC hosted several small peer seminars in which facility operators of private water/wastewater facilities met with colleagues in the public sector to reduce the anxiety of employees facing privatization. These programs included facility administrators and town managers/mayors. WIC also designed and administers, free-of-charge, the web site of Connecticut's municipal wastewater treatment employee association. Through this technique, worker resistance to privatization declined and Connecticut is now privatizing at a rapid rate. We are taking this seminar to other areas of the country where our member companies are active.