Great Lakes Commission

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Great Lakes Commission

Board of Directors

Conference Call Minutes

April 20, 2017

(DRAFT – Not Official)
The meeting was called to order at 4 p.m. EDT by Jon Allan, Chair. The following members were present:
Dan Injerd - Illinois

Kay Nelson - Indiana

Jon Allan - Michigan

Don Zelazny - New York

Andy Ware - Ohio

Bill Carr - Ontario

Tim Bruno - Pennsylvania

Steve Galarneau, Pat Stevens (joined midway) - Wisconsin

Staff present: Tim Eder, Steve Cole, Tom Crane, Beth Wanamaker, Matt Doss, Joe Bertram, Victoria Pebbles (by phone)

  1. Introductions and Call Objectives: Agenda and minutes were approved.

  1. FY 18 GLC budget: Bertram noted the $19.165 million FY18 budget is a 33.2% increase, almost entirely on the contracts and grants (pass thru) funds line. Rent is up because the office may be moved to a new space at the end of 2017. Injerd suggested that the GLC look at purchasing properties instead of renting. Eder said he will check with the GLC’s real estate broker, but noted that the Ann Arbor real estate market is extremely tight. Injerd also noted that due to their political climate, Illinois does not want to be seen voting for a salary increase. They may vote “present” to avoid that issue, or they suggest polling for average salary increases for state workers.

The Board agreed to move the draft forward to Commissioners.

  1. Potential MOU with Council of Great Lakes Industries: Eder noted that the GLC has worked with CGLI’s Kathy Buckner over the past few years on the connection between a strong Great Lakes economy and healthy environment. Eder and Buckner are scheduling a meeting with university economists to further explore the topic, and thought that now was a good time to formalize the relationship between the two organizations with an MOU. The GLC currently has MOUs with TNC, USGS and the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers. The partnership may allow the GLC to partner with corporations or other funders on economic projects. CGLI’s Board is in favor of pursuing an MOU. Activities under the MOU would include preparing an agenda on the Blue Economy that the GLC would like to pursue in collaboration with CGLI. Allan noted that as the GLC tries to grow its economic bonafides, this would allow it to partner with important organizations. Bruno and Zelazny asked for more focus in the MOU and clarification of what activities are going to be undertaken. Allan suggested including language excluding certain activities. Eder agreed to get a draft to the Board before the next call.

  1. Brandon Road and Invasive Species in the CAWS: Eder noted that the GLC has a long history of advocating for advancing this policy and, at the next stage is release of the Corps’ Tentatively Selected Plan for public review. He noted that many people believe getting the draft out is the best way to have a conversation as a region about moving forward. Injerd said Illinois does not feel as though it has been allowed to provide adequate input and they support a delay of the report until Illinois can review the report with the Army Corps. Illinois is not willing to go any further than urging the Corps to sit down with Illinois. Allan said he doesn’t know how to respond to something he hasn’t seen yet, and said Michigan needs to see the study because of deep concern about AIS. Allan noted he is willing to encourage the Corps to sit down with Illinois if the release is still guaranteed. Nelson recommended that the GLC write a letter urging the Corps to sit down with Illinois to discuss their concerns. Allan said that was not acceptable to Michigan unless it also would say the study should be released. Ware suggested that the GLC write a letter to the Corps saying Illinois has not been shown due respect and there should be a chance for Illinois to review the report before release. Bruno agreed. Allan said any letter must call for expeditious release of the study and noted that the Corps has indicated that they need to get the report out to get feedback. Stevens agreed with the approach of writing the Corps urging them to sit down with Illinois, but noted that the GLC has longstanding policy on this issue. Eder noted there is not consensus yet among the CAWS Advisory Committee on sending a letter on this topic and the topic was deferred.

  1. EPA Region 5 office: Eder noted that if the rumor of EPA closing its Region 5 office in Chicago turns out to be true, the GLC must weigh in against it. Nelson recommended two draft letter be generated in case the issues advance: one on the EPA Great Lake office and a draft on impact of federal discussion of state regulatory budgets. Allan concurred, and asked that the GLC not respond to media requests except to say that the matter of the office is under review.

  1. Farm Bill: Sen. Stabenow is the ranking member of the Ag Committee. GLC has been invited to provide testimony, and the Board may need to talk about it in the future.

The meeting adjourned at 5:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Tim A. Eder, Executive Director


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