Hamilton County Environmental Action Commission

The Hamilton County Environmental Action Commission (HCEAC) provides a forum for a broad range of stakeholders to discuss environmental issues and identify ways to improve environmental quality in the Hamilton County area.

The HCEAC is a diverse group with representatives from business, government, academia and the public at large appointed by the Director of Ohio EPA. It was formed in 1991 and usually meets the first Thursday of the month at the Hamilton County Environmental Services Building on Taft Road. Meetings are open to the public. The HCEAC was instrumental in the formation of the Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities and Environmental Priorities Project. It also initiated the directory for environmental organizations. Please see the State of the Environment in Hamilton County, Ohio for more information about the county's environmental achievements and challenges.

The HCEAC was formed by Ohio EPA as a response to growing Agency and public concerns about environmental problems in Hamilton County. The goal was to have a community-based advisory group that would assess environmental issues from a variety of perspectives and make recommendations for improvement. The new organization was modeled after the Remedial Action Plan process that had produced good results in the planning for improvements to Lake Erie.

Seventeen people were initially appointed to the HCEAC. They represented such groups as the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, Hillside Trust, Sierra Club, General Electric, Proctor and Gamble, the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, Ohio EPA, Cincinnati and Hamilton County Health Departments, Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) and Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO).

Objectives

Commission meetings are frank, civil and unencumbered by passion or self-interest. Individual concerns on issues are discussed until consensus is reached or all aspects of the issue are openly addressed to everyone’s satisfaction.

To accomplish its goals, the HCEAC may:
  • Be a think tank and catalyst for action on past, present and future problems.
  • Identify, study and recommend strategies for improving the environment.
  • Stimulate other groups to take responsibility for action.
  • Encourage broader and better-educated public participation.
  • Publish factual information and sponsor public forums that practice collaborative and consensual decision making.
  • Promote open communications and cooperation among all stakeholders and provide a network for information exchange.
  • Consider ideas and projects that address sustainability, environmental justice, smart growth and economic prosperity.

Membership (7-25 members) and Roles and Responsibilities of Commissioners

Commissioners will be nominated by a membership committee (see committee roles below) and elected by a majority vote of the current members. A strong attempt will be made to maintain the relative balance of Commission members among various interests, including manufacturing (business), public interest (at large), academic, and government.

Commissioners will serve on the HCEAC until such time as they resign or are removed from office by three-quarters vote of all the Commissioners. For the HCEAC to be effective, commissioners must attend the meetings and actively participate to ensure the views of their organization are expressed on the issues being presented. Therefore, if a Commissioner fails to attend four consecutive, scheduled meetings of the Commission, they may be considered for removal by other members of the HCEAC.

Immediately after the election of any person as a Commissioner, the Secretary shall transmit the name and qualifications of such person to the Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA). On the date the Director of Ohio EPA confirms the election by appointing the person, in writing, as a commissioner, the election shall be final and such person’s term as a Commissioner begins.

Roles and Responsibilities of Officers of the HCEAC

The officers of the organization shall be a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson, and a Secretary.

The Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson shall be members of the Commission. The Chairperson shall be the principal executive officer of the organization and shall, in general, supervise and control all of the business and affairs of the organization. He or she shall preside at all meetings of the Commissioners. The Vice Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Commissioners when the Chairperson is absent. The Vice Chairperson shall have such other powers and perform such other duties as shall be prescribed by the Commissioners or by the Chairperson.

The Secretary of the HCEAC will be an Ohio EPA employee and will provide administrative support for the HCEAC (distribution of the agenda, notice of meetings, transmitting the names and qualifications of potential new members to the Director for consideration).

The Nominations Committee will provide recommendations of candidates for officers to the HCEAC for their consideration. The officers of the organization shall be elected annually by the Commissioners at the December meeting of the Commissioners. If that meeting is cancelled, the election of officers shall be held as soon thereafter as convenient.

Any officer elected by the Commissioners may be removed by the affirmative vote of as majority of the Commissioners whenever in its judgment, the best interests of the organization would be served thereby. If there is a vacancy due to death, resignation, removal, disqualification, or otherwise, the Nominations Committee will recommend and the HCEAC vote on candidates to serve the unexpired portion of the officer’s term at any special or regular meeting.

Meetings

The HCEAC will regularly meet on the first Thursday of each month at the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services. Due to the number of commissioners being on vacation in the summer, the HCEAC does not meet routinely in July and August. Agendas for each meeting will be developed by the Chair and distributed to Commission members at least one week prior to the meeting date.

At the December meeting, the Commissioners shall propose the topics for discussion for the next calendar year. At this meeting, the commissioners will also assign sponsors for those topics. The sponsors ensure that there is a speaker that can provide information to the HCEAC on this topic so that meaningful discussion can occur.

The Chair may also schedule additional special meetings as necessary. Notice of the time and place of each special meeting of the Commissioners shall be given to each Commissioner at least one week prior to the meeting. Meetings of the Commission shall be open to the public.

Committees

The Commission, by resolution, adopted by a majority of the Commissioners in office, may designate one or more committees, each of which shall consist of two or more Commissioners. Current committees of the HCEAC include the following:

Nominations Committee: The Nominations Committee is responsible for recommending Commissioners that are qualified to serve as officers in the HCEAC for consideration of the HCEAC at the December meeting. The Chair of the Nominations Committee is the Ohio EPA representative to the HCEAC. The Past Chair, Chair, and Vice Chair also serve on this committee.

Membership Committee. The Membership Committee is responsible for recommending qualified individuals to serve as Commissioners to the HCEAC. The Chair of the Membership Committee is the Ohio EPA representative to the HCEAC. Other commission members include (need names here).

Charter Review

This Charter will be reviewed annually and revised as necessary.
Name Affiliation Representing

Richard Brewer

Duke Energy

Business

Cheri Bush
Cincinnati MSD
Government

Bonnie Buthker

Ohio EPA Southwest District

Government

Holly Christmann

Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services
Government

Jennifer Eismeier

Camp Joy

Business

Larry Falkin Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability
Government

Ann Gunkel

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Academia

Erin Haynes, DrPH, MS

University of Cincinnati

Academia

Stan Hedeen
Xavier University
Academia

Warren C. High

AMEC

Business

Melissa Johnson

Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority

Government

Greg Kesterman
Hamilton County Public Health
Government

Gerry Kraus

Environmental Community Organizations

Environmental Group

Brad Miller
Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency
Government

Mark Norman

Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease

Business

Jerry Robertson

 

Citizen

Bruce O. Schmucker

ecotech

Business

Thomas A. Winston

 

Citizen

Tana Flickinger

Ohio EPA Southwest District

Commission Secretary

     

Article One - Commissioners

Section 1.01. General Powers.

All of the authority of the organization shall be exercised by or under the direction of its Commissioners.

Section 1.02. Size of Commission.

The number of Commissioners shall be no less than eight and no more than twenty-five, but such number may be increased to such number as deemed desirable by the Commissioners, such change to be by amendment to these By-Laws in the manner set forth in Article Four.

Section 1.03. Term of Office.

Each Commissioner shall hold office until a successor shall have been appointed and qualified, or until his or her earlier resignation, removal from office, or death.

Section 1.04. Nomination, Election and Confirmation of Commissioners.

A. Commissioners will be nominated by a membership committee and elected by a majority vote of the current members. A strong attempt will be made to maintain the relative balance of Commission members among various interests, including manufacturing (business), public interest (at large), academic, and government.

B. Immediately after the election of any person as a Commissioner, the Secretary shall transmit the name and qualifications of such person to the Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA). On the date the Director of Ohio EPA confirms the election by appointing the person, in writing, as a commissioner, the election shall be final and such person’s term as a Commissioner begins.

Section 1.05. Removal.

A Commissioner may be removed from office, with or without assigning any cause, only (a) by the three-quarters vote of all the Commissioners, or (b) if such Commissioner fails to attend four consecutive, scheduled meetings of the Commission.

Section 1.06. Voting.

Each Commissioner shall be entitled to one vote on each matter properly submitted to the Commissioners for their vote, consent, waiver, release or other action.

Section 1.07. Annual Meetings.

The annual meeting of the Commissioners shall be held on the second Thursday of January of each year at 1:30 p.m., or on such other date and time as the Commissioners from time to time by resolution may provide.

Section 1.08. Regular Meetings, Special Meetings.

Regular meetings of the Commission shall be established by the Board periodically, as they deem necessary, with the meeting dates and time to be agreed upon by them. Oral notification of the dates of the regular meetings shall be deemed proper notice of the meetings. A special meeting of the Commission may be called by the Chairperson or any two Commissioners.

Section 1.09. Notice, Meetings Place.

Meetings of the Commissioners may be held at any place within or without the State of Ohio, and may be conducted by means of telephone equipment if all persons participating can hear each other. No additional notice beyond oral notification of the date and time for a regular meeting need be given. Notice of the time and place of each special meeting of the Commissioners shall be given to each Commissioner at least two days before the meeting.

Section 1.10. Quorum.

A majority of the Commissioners shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting, but less than a quorum may adjourn the meeting. Unless otherwise required by law, the act of a majority of the Commissioners present at any properly convened meeting at which there is a quorum shall be deemed to the act of the Commission.

Section 1.11. Compensation.

Commissioners shall not receive any stated compensation for their services.

Section 1.12. Action without a Meeting.

Any action which may be authorized or taken at a meeting of the Commission may be authorized or taken without meeting with the affirmative vote or approval of, and in a writing or writings signed by all of the Commissioners who would be entitled to notice of a meeting for such a purpose.

Section 1.13. Proxies.

At any meeting of the Commissioners, a commissioner entitled to vote may vote by proxy executed in writing by the Commissioner or by his or her duly authorized attorney-in-fact.

Section 1.14. Open Meetings.

Every meeting of the Commission and its committees shall be open to the public.

Article Two — Officers

Section 2.01. Officers.

The officers of the organization shall be a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson, and a Secretary.

Section 2.02. Qualifications.

The Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson shall be members of the Commission.

Section 2.03. Election and Term of Office.

Except for the Secretary, the officers of the organization shall be elected annually by the Commissioners at the regular annual meeting of the Commissioners. If the election of officers shall not be held at such meeting, such election shall be held as soon thereafter as convenient.

Section 2.04. Removal.

Any officer elected or appointed by the Commissioners may, however, be removed by the affirmative vote of as majority of the Commissioners with or without cause whenever in its judgment, the best interests of the organization would be served thereby.

Section 2.05. Vacancies.

A vacancy in any office, because of death, resignation, removal, disqualification, or otherwise, may be filled by the Commissioners at any special or regular meeting, for the unexpired portion of the term.

Section 2.06. Chairperson.

The Chairperson shall be the principal executive officer of the organization and shall, in general, supervise and control all of the business and affairs of the organization. He or she shall preside at all meetings of the Commissioners.

Section 2.07. Vice Chairperson.

The Vice Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Commissioners when the Chairperson is absent. The Vice Chairperson shall have such other powers and perform such other duties as shall be prescribed by the Commissioners or by the Chairperson.

Section 2.08. Secretary.

The Secretary shall keep the minutes of the meetings of the Commissioners, and keep a register of the post office address of each Commissioner which shall be furnished to the Secretary by such Commissioner, and in general, perform all duties incident to the office of Secretary and such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him or her by the Chairperson or by the Commissioners. The Secretary shall be the Director of Ohio EPA or his or her designate.

Article Three — Committees

Section 3.01. Committees of Commissioners.

The Commission, by resolution, adopted by a majority of the Commissioners in office, may designate one or more committees, each of which shall consist of two or more Commissioners, which committees, to the extent provided in said resolution, shall have and exercise the authority of the Commissioners in the management of the organization; but the designation of such committees and the delegation thereto of authority shall not operate to relieve the Commissioners, or any individual Commissioner, of any responsibility imposed on it, her or him by law. Each committee shall serve at the pleasure of the Commissioners, shall act only in the intervals between meetings of the Commissioners, and shall be subject to the control and direction of the Commissioners.

Section 3.02. Other Committees.

Other committees not having and exercising the authority of the Commissioners may be designated by a resolution adopted by a majority of the Commissioners present at a meeting at which a quorum is present. Except as otherwise provided in such resolution, members of each such committee shall be elected or shall be appointed by the Chairperson. Any member thereof may be removed by the person or persons authorized to appoint or elect such member whenever in their judgment the best interests of the organization shall be served by such removal.

Section 3.03. Term of Office.

Each member of a committee shall continue until the next annual meeting of the members of the organization and until his or her successor is appointed, unless the committee shall be sooner terminated, or unless such member be removed from such committee, or unless such member shall cease to qualify as a member thereof.

Section 3.04. Chairperson.

One member of each committee shall be appointed chairperson by the person or persons authorized to appoint or elect the members thereof.

Section 3.05. Vacancies.

Vacancies in the membership of any committee may be filled by appointments made in the same manner as provided in the case or the original appointments.

Section 3.07. Quorum.

Unless otherwise provided in the resolution of the Commissioners designating a committee, a majority of the whole committee shall constitute a quorum and the act of a majority of the members present at a meeting in which a quorum is present shall be the act of the committee.

Article Four — Amendments

The Commissioners shall have the power to make, amend and repeal the By-Laws by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Commissioners.

Article Five — Conflict of Interest

Commissioners are nominated to serve based on their knowledge of and active involvement in environmental issues in Hamilton County. This active involvement often may include employment with public or private organizations affected by Commission activities. Commissioners will disclose any potential conflict of interest due to a financial interest or employer interest in actions of the Commission. However, no Commissioner shall be required to abstain from the discussion or voting on an issue due to a conflict of interest.

Article Six — Procedures

To the extent not otherwise specified in the By-Laws, Roberts Rules of Order will govern proceedings of the Commission and its committees.