Conservationists call for public to help rate Trey Glenn – Birmingham News 1/10/08

Public input sought on ADEM director’s performance review – Birmingham News 1/10/08

News staff writer

A coalition of Alabama’s conservation groups is calling on the public to join officials in rating the head of the state’s environmental regulatory agency.

Conservation Alabama, the state’s primary political environmental group, has posted a survey online for evaluating Trey Glenn, director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

“I think it’s a time to check in and say, `Is this working? What are some things we need to see changed or improved?'” said Adam Snyder, executive director of Conservation Alabama. “I think it’s critical to get the public’s voice in this, because they’re the ones most affected by the decisions the director is making.”

The Environmental Management Commission, which supervises ADEM directors, recently composed a form for the seven commissioners to fill out as part of their review for the director.

Conservation Alabama has the support of the umbrella group of environmentalists called the ADEM Reform Coalition on the project, Snyder said.

Efforts to reach Glenn for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful, but his spokesman, Scott Hughes, said he welcomes all comments from the public.

“We are public servants who work for the people of Alabama, so I think it’s only fair that the people of Alabama have an opportunity to comment on any activity that the department’s involved in,” Hughes said.

Environmental groups and others have questioned many of Glenn’s decisions as head of the state’s 600-member environmental regulatory agency, such as buying a $2.4 million plane to survey the state for pollution. The department is working on cost-cutting measures to avoid a predicted $3 million shortfall by the end of the year and an additional $3 million the following year.

The Montgomery County district attorney’s office is investigating Glenn’s activities at his previous job, at the request of the Alabama Ethics Commission. Glenn headed the state Office of Water Resources.

At their Dec. 14 meeting, Environmental Management Commission members agreed to turn in their completed review forms within the month but did not clearly outline how a review process would proceed for Glenn, who has held the ADEM job three years and earns $139,000 a year.

Conservation Alabama is encouraging those who fill out forms to include their names, but that is not required.

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