ASK ANN

"Recently, while attending a meeting on environmental issues, I heard people referring to "CAVE" people in their community. I thought it sounded funny but several others seemed to know exactly who was being referred to and seemed to act like it was a problem. Can you fill me in? What are "CAVE" people?

What would we do without acronyms? I must admit I was a little confused the first time I heard the title, too. Didn't have any caves in my area and, if so, didn't know anyone who was living in them. However, the term "CAVE" is usually referring to "Citizens Against Virtually Everything" and has absolutely nothing to do with spelunkers! Every community has their own group of CAVE people. These are usually the same few who protest every new program, project, or development and often only for the purpose of being "agin" new things. We are hearing the term more frequently now since public education and awareness of stormwater issues and increased emphasis on citizen involvement are being stressed.

"Traffic calming always seems to be a hot topic and we have spent quite a bit of time and money trying to find ways to satisfy our residents, but it seems like things never change. Engineering says the problem lies with not enough enforcement; enforcement says things need to be re-engineered. Any suggestions?"

Actually, I'm glad you asked. This has always been an issue of enforcement versus engineering and, really, it's a matter of community education and cooperation by the entire community. I recently participated in the Accreditation Site Visit for the Olathe Public Works Department in Olathe, Kansas, where they shared information about their Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program. They have begun to include engineering, enforcement, and the members of the complaining area in the complaint review process.  With everyone sitting around the table, they appear to be getting good results and the "buck passing" has stopped. For more information, you can contact Joe Bonney, Street Maintenance Division Manager, at jbonney@olatheks.org. By the way, Olathe passed their site visit with flying colors and will be the first agency accredited in the State of Kansas.

"Our department has been working on the Self Improvement phase of Self-Assessment and we have decided we want to go on to Accreditation. We're using the fourth edition of the Public Works Management Practices Manual for our self-assessment. We haven't signed a contract yet and it may be six months before we are ready to do so. Will we still be using the fourth edition for our review?"

The answer is likely to be "No" unless you sign your contract for Voluntary Accreditation prior to September 15, 2004. We will be rolling out the fifth edition of the Manual during our 2004 Congress in Atlanta, Georgia. If you have already signed the contract prior to that date, you will continue using the fourth edition. If you have not, you will need to prepare using the fifth edition since Accreditation is based on completing the practices from the "most current edition of the Manual." Remember, signing the contract still ensures you have three full years to work towards the final improvement stage and to request your site visit. There will not be a fee increase for the program; only a new Manual and software. Contract me directly if you have further questions.

"Our chapter president read us some information about a program at Congress for young public works people but I can't remember the details. What is involved?"

The program is the Emerging Public Works Leaders Forum and it is, indeed, held in conjunction with the APWA Congress each year. This year's event will begin with a reception on Saturday evening, September 11, and conclude with the Grand Banquet on Wednesday evening.

The program, though, is not necessarily designed for "young" people. It is for employees who are "new" to the field of public works or to a supervisory position in public works ("new" meaning five years or less), and who have never attended an APWA Congress. The fee is greatly reduced and applications and information packets can be obtained by contacting me at adaniels@apwa.net. This year's registration fee is $250 and a great program is planned by pairing new leaders with experienced public works professionals who serve as Mentors throughout the week. Both Mentor and Leader applications are now being accepted. Don't miss out. First come, first served, for 50 registrants!

Ask Ann...

Questions are welcome.

Please address all inquiries to:

Ann Daniels
Director of Technical Services
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd.
Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625
Fax questions to (816) 472-0405
E-mail:
adaniels@apwa.net