"Never thought we'd have this problem, but our chapter is having difficulty in attracting new members to our Board. Any thoughts on how we might be successful?"

We've talked about the differences we are all going to experience with the retirement of so many of our "established" members. Attracting people to serve on boards and committees is one of the fallout issues from those retirements. There are some tips you might keep in mind:

  1. You can't do it by yourself. No longer can the president or chair keep the chapter going alone. "Leading" needs to become a team sport. Involve others. But, how, you ask?

  2. Change the culture of your Board by encouraging everyone to feel what they are doing is important and meaningful. The old term is "buy-in" but it still means the same thing.

  3. Use the nucleus you have and build on it. Everyone knows someone else. Encourage them to invite new people to participate. A personal invitation brings much better response than a "Hey, if you want to join us, let us know."

  4. Recycle previous members who have been out of the loop for awhile. Let them know they are still valuable. Of course, recruit those who were productive!

  5. Once you get 'em, let 'em participate. Nothing I hate worse than being asked to serve and then not having an assignment. If you're only looking for warm bodies to fill out the roster, anyone will do. If you really want interested, viable contributors, change how you ask them and how you treat them. "A word to the wise is sufficient."

"Has anything been decided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) about the standards of retroreflectivity on street signs? Seems to be an ongoing question but I thought I heard they had made some decisions."

The answer is "Yes" and "No." Earlier this year FHWA proposed to amend the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) to include methods to maintain traffic sign retroreflectivity. Based on the review and analysis of the numerous comments received in response to the notice, FHWA has decided to substantially review the proposed amendments to the MUTCD and has issued a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Amendments (SNPA). Under the SNPA, FHWA proposed to amend the MUTCD to include a standard for minimum maintained levels of traffic sign retroreflectivity and methods to maintain traffic sign retroreflectivity at or above these levels. Got that? If you would like to offer comments on the proposed amendments, you have until November 6, 2006 to submit them. You may contact Debra Chappell, FHWA Office of Safety Design, at (202) 366-0087. For more information visit the May 8th Federal Register at:

"We recently received several phone calls at our water plant asking if we were aware of the report that says there is a connection between the use of alum and Alzheimer's disease. Where did this come from?"

A report was issued in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry in April of this year, and tells about an autopsy that linked aluminum pollution and the death of an Alzheimer's patient. This has been reported previously and the only thing it does is attract public attention to the use of aluminum cookware and drinking water. Daniel Perl, a neuropathologist for the journal Nature, reported "most aluminum is found in an insoluble form and therefore not dangerous." The connection to drinking water comes from the use of alum, which contains aluminum, which is used as a coagulant in drinking water. Most of it is removed in the treatment process so it really is not an appreciable concern. Hopefully you won't have many who see this report!

"We have a large landfill and would like to find a beneficial use for the huge amount of methane gas it generates. I've heard some places heat their public works facilities with the gas to save on winter gas rates. Any other ideas of what might be done with it?"

I'm sure there are numerous methods in place but I am most aware of the usage you mentioned above which is proving to be very cost effective for a wide variety of public works facilities. Another use has been to partner with a school district and use the methane to heat a greenhouse for a combined partnership project that allows a horticulture class to train students and science classes to study the proper use of the methane. A new one I read about recently is the BMW Manufacturing Plant in Spartanburg, S.C. that is utilizing the methane gas to power their paint shop. When the plant opened in 2002, they began using methane to help heat the plant at a savings of about 20% of their normal usage. In 2005, that figure has increased to 50%. This will be the first automotive paint shop to integrate the use of landfill gas in its process equipment and is a project to be watched.

"So, how many Accredited Agencies are there now?"

Happy to have you ask! As of August 1, 2006, there are 36 accredited agencies with site visits scheduled for two more in August. Don't just watch us grow! Plant some seeds and grow your own successful program. (No fertilizer required. Just hard work.)

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) 472-1610