Public Participation Group Mission and Principles
The mission of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) Public Participation Group is to provide the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) with broad-based, informed and timely community input on reports, findings, plans and draft decision documents that DTSC deems is necessary to conduct timely and effective remediation of hazardous contamination at the site for which it has oversight.
PRINCIPLES OF PARTICIPATION
Participants are being sought based upon several qualities:
PPG members are asked to communicate with their respective constituencies to keep them aware of the PPG‘s discussions and ensure that they can faithfully represent the perspectives of their reference group. DTSC staff will be available to assist in this communication process, if needed.
PPG members agree to abide by the following discussion process:
In order for the process to work effectively, full participation of members will be essential. PPG members are asked to commit to attend meetings consistently. If a PPG member becomes unavailable to attend a meeting, he or she may send a previously identified alternate to monitor that meeting. The alternate should be briefed by the PPG member regarding the status of prior discussions and decisions. Active participation by the alternate is permissible if the alternate does not impede the progress of the group.
A facilitator will conduct all PPG meetings. The role of the facilitator is to ensure all perspectives are heard through a respectful, cooperative discussion process. PPG meeting discussions may be audio taped to aid in the preparation of meeting summaries.
DTSC will be responsible for determining and preparing meeting agendas in consultation with PPG members. At the conclusion of each meeting, DTSC will solicit suggestions from PPG members for items to include in the next agenda and any action items requiring additional research or further discussion. DTSC has final authority on determining meeting agendas.
Observers are welcome at PPG meetings. However, meetings are intended for the benefit of DTSC and the PPG members to promote balanced, constructive interaction. Observers will be asked to refrain from commenting during the proceedings. There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of each meeting.
Media and External Communication
Media present, if any, will be identified for the benefit of PPG members. Should the media contact PPG representative(s) outside of the meetings, members will be asked not to make public statements about the PPG’s discussions to the media that would tend to hamper constructive discussions or ongoing PPG interactions. DTSC staff and consultants will also refrain from such statements about the PPG’s discussions. DTSC staff will be available to assist in any communication to the media, if desired. The overriding consideration in all communications by PPG members is to honor and sustain the constructive, cooperative process developed by the group.
In order to ensure that all members have the same information available to them, all documents will be distributed through the established DTSC point of contact for the PPG. PPG members are asked to provide any materials for distribution to other members a minimum of five business (5) days prior to the next meeting, whenever possible. These materials will be provided to all PPG members by DTSC staff at least three (3) days before the next meeting.
Draft Work Product Documents
During PPG meetings, draft work product documents are often distributed in order to facilitate discussions among members. All documents should be marked DRAFT and FOR DISCUSSION PURPOSES ONLY. Members will be asked not to distribute draft work product documents and/or share them with the media or others in a manner that may elicit community, agency or elected official concern or misunderstanding due to the unfinished and preliminary nature of the documents. DTSC staff will help identify materials that are available and appropriate for PPG members to share with the constituencies they represent.
Members will be asked not to engage in e-mail discussions with each other on PPG agenda items that would tend to hamper mutual respect or constructive discussions at PPG meetings. E-mail lists of PPG members are for PPG administrative use only.
Role of Subcommittees
At times, smaller group meetings of PPG members may or may not be necessary and/or desirable to discuss specific, identified technical issues. If such subcommittees are formed by DTSC, all members will have the opportunity to participate.
Role and Responsibility of Public Outreach
Members will be asked to report back to the PPG regarding any public outreach that they participate in to keep their respective constituencies aware of the PPG’s discussions and the issues that the constituencies have identified. DTSC staff and consultants will be available to provide assistance in this communication process, if desired.