Wednesday, March 12, 2008

part time opening-energy conservation coordinator

Nikki Coddington, Greenburgh’s first energy conservation coordinator, has submitted her resignation effective the end of the month. Nikki will be heading up a non profit organization that deals with energy conservation issues. The town was extremely fortunate to have her as our first energy conservation coordinator. She was Greenburgh’s first energy conservation coordinator and the first energy conservation coordinator in the region.
The Town Board will conduct interviews with candidates who are interested in applying for the position of energy conservation coordinator beginning Tuesday, March 25th. If you are interested in applying for the position please send a cover letter and bio to townboard@greenburghny.com and to Townclerk@greenburghny.com. The budget for the office: $28,093 for the part time stipend (minimum of 16 hours a week). $1700 for office expenses. No benefits since this position is contractual. The following is a summary of the responsibilities of the office.
PAUL FEINER
Greenburgh Town Supervisor

ENERGY CONSERVATION COORDINATOR RESPONSIBILITIES

Prepared by Nicola Coddington, March 2008
Note: This documents the types of activities that have been conducted over the past five years, as of March 2008. Not all activities were done at the same time. The role has evolved, and there has been a periodic reprioritization as to what can realistically be accomplished in an average of 16 hours per week

COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND EDUCATION
Community outreach and education to promote energy conservation/efficiency, renewable energy, global warming action.
Areas covered: buildings, transportation, products, purchasing
Target audiences: Residential/individual, business/commercial, school
Methods of outreach/education:

Regularly maintain literature displays in public (usually Town) buildings: e.g. Town Hall lobby and Building Dept area; library (when they move back into the completed building); other potential sites include TDYCC, Greenburgh Nature Center, Multipurpose Center at Anthony Veteran Park.
Set up targeted literature displays for particular time-limited events. Example: during the last week of months when property taxes are due at Greenburgh Town Hall, set up display on Tax counter featuring energy programs for homes and multifamily buildings.
Table at public locations and events, with literature, CFL bulb display, giveaways, etc., either invited or self-initiated. Examples: library, street fairs, farmer’s markets, Earth Day events at school or TDY community center, etc. Participation is expected at annual Celebrate Greenburgh Day.
Make presentations to community groups, either on request or self-initiated. Examples: Rotary Club, Lions Club, homeowners associations, Garden Club, employees of an organization (including Town departments), Greenburgh Housing Authority tenants, library, etc. May include presentations at Town Board meetings since they are televised.
Organize, publicize, and execute (alone or partnering with other organizations such as NYSERDA, DOE, Building & Realty Institute, MetroPool, Sierra Club, Westchester County departments, etc.) events for targeted audiences or the general public. Examples:
Green Living Fair
Seminar for multifamily building owners/managers
Seminar for business owners
Seminar on solar energy for homeowners, architects, etc.
Recruitment seminar for Home Performance contractors
Transportation day (promoting ridesharing and public transportation)
Energy film festival
Maintain web page on Town website, providing information resources. Send updated web pages to Joe Lucasey for posting. Periodically check links for accuracy (can ask a student intern to do this). Events should be posted on web page.
Produce “The Energy Show,” a half-hour show on Greenburgh public access cable TV (one segment runs for a month on channels 75 and 76). Plan, select/research topics, invite guests or select videos, schedule taping, prepare guest questions, tape, review rough tape for editing, send copy of completed tape or DVD to guest if appropriate (George Malone and/or Kevin Ridley do the actual camera work and editing).
Send out emails to particular target audiences (own lists), such as architects, teachers, builders/contractors, etc., regarding items or events of interest (typically training events).
Send out emails to the general Greenburgh audience (Town e-list).
Plan and promote specific campaigns/initiatives, such as “Change a Light” or “Green Your Miles.”
Respond to individual inquiries, either by email, phone, or in person (in office).
Respond to inquiries from new Town residents. Energy Conservation Coordinator services have been promoted in the letter that every new homeowner in the Town receives from the Supervisor, and names of new homeowners forwarded. (This was done in the past but not recently.)
Review and update the Energy Conservation Coordinator listing that is published in the semiannual Greenburgh Guide.
Maintain adequate supply of literature by periodically ordering from sources (NYSERDA, Con Edison, MetroPool, NYS Consumer Protection Board, etc.), making sure each brochure or flier is the latest version available; keep an eye out for new literature or particular promotions; create own literature for custom purposes.
Work with the Greenburgh library to update and promote their selection of books, videos, and other resources on these topics. Recommend new titles for purchase. Produce and regularly update a flier that lists these resources. Publicize new acquisitions. (This is on hiatus until the library moves into its new building and its collection come out of storage.) These things could be done with the village libraries too, as time and their staff interest permit.
Work with the media to obtain publicity for initiatives, events, and achievements. Example: story on local solar homes in conjunction with the Green Living Fair.
Organize ways to recognize individuals or organizations that have “gone green.” Example: certificate and ceremony to recognize the first group of builders to complete Energy Star homes under the Town law.
Research social marketing techniques to improve effectiveness of outreach.
POLICY DEVELOPMENT
Research, develop, and present recommendations to Town Board on possible policy initiatives. May be done in response to suggestions from members of public or Town administration. Research includes conducting discussions with stakeholders and other involved parties or departments; Internet or phone research on resources and examples/case studies from other municipalities or organizations. Past examples: Energy Star purchasing; green building standards for commercial new construction.

Respond to inquiries from other municipalities, organizations, and the media regarding Town policies or initiatives. Example: other municipalities seeking to pass an Energy Star law.
When appropriate, recommend policy advocacy or support for higher level (e.g. County or State) initiatives. Example: Town signing on to letter supporting net metering legislation.
ICLEI
Serve as Town “staff” liaison to ICLEI/Local Governments for Sustainability (our membership requires one staff and one elected official liaison—Diana Jeuttner has been serving as the latter), maintaining communications with ICLEI. Manage ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection process, which includes five Milestones. We are still on Milestone 1, which is to conduct a greenhouse gas emissions baseline inventory; this involves collecting data and entering it in the CCP software program (or finding an intern to do it). Understand ICLEI tools and resources and be able to use them in implementing the process and communicate them to Town staff as needed. Monitor and process annual ICLEI membership bill. Network with other ICLEI members to research best practices.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN TOWN FACILITIES
Existing Town Buildings and Facilities
Work with Town staff to improve energy performance and greenhouse gas impact of Town-owned facilities and operations, including buildings, street lights, vehicles, etc. Ideally will result in cost savings. May involve searching for grants or other funding opportunities.
Coordinate energy audits and retrofit projects as appropriate. So far we have had the New York Power Authority (NYPA) conduct “walk-through” energy audits on all our buildings, and a detailed energy audit on Town Hall which resulted in the 2006 retrofit with energy-efficient lighting and occupancy sensors. Working with the Commissioner of Public Works, future energy audits should be scheduled either with NYPA or with an energy performance contracting company. When retrofit project is completed, help create educational signage and publicity to communicate the energy efficiency measures and benefits to the public.
Make use of EPA tools and online training seminars on energy-efficient operations, and promote training opportunities, whether web-based or events, to relevant staff, for example in energy-efficient building operation. Example: www.energystar.gov, Building Portfolio Manager.
In addition to facilities directly owned and operated with the Town, work with the management and staff of associated entities such as the Housing Authority and the Greenburgh Nature Center to connect them with the resources and information to improve the energy performance of their buildings.
Monitor Town’s participation in Energy Curtailment Specialists’ demand response/energy curtailment program; if appropriate, publicize as a model.
New Construction of Town Buildings
For new construction of buildings owned by the Town or associated entities, advocate for energy efficiency and green construction methods, and connect decision-makers with the information and resources available. When building construction is completed, help create educational signage and publicity to communicate the green building features and benefits to the public. Example: Greenburgh Library.
RENEWABLE ENERGY IN TOWN FACILITIES
Monitor photovoltaic (PV) system at Town Hall. Submit quarterly reports to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) as part of fulfilling the requirements of their grant. Monitor PV system performance and conduct maintenance or troubleshooting (with building staff) as necessary. Refresh screen of monitor in lobby on a daily basis if possible (otherwise it remains on screensaver), and make sure data acquisition system (DAS) and computer are functioning properly. Maintain and improve solar information display in lobby, in order to educate the public on solar energy.
POLICIES/CAMPAIGNS WITH TOWN EMPLOYEES

Promote Town’s “Green Your Miles” campaign with employees, encouraging them to carpool. Explore ways to reward or recognize them, including establishment of dedicated parking spaces for carpoolers.
NEW PRIVATE CONSTRUCTION: RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL
Residential New Construction

As needed, coordinate with the Building Department to make sure information on the Town’s Energy Star homes law is up to date and available to building permit applicants; work with Building Department and the HERS energy rater community to resolve any issues in application of the law. When needed, respond to inquiries from builders or homeowners about the law and information resources. In Building Department lobby area, maintain display of relevant brochures, e.g. Energy Star Homes.
Commercial New Construction
As (informally) required as part of the Town’s Planning Board application process, meet with applicants for new commercial construction to discuss opportunities for energy conservation (and other green building measures) in their projects. Offer them information regarding NYSERDA’s programs and resources for technical assistance and funding for new construction and green building, as well as USGBC’s resources on LEED construction. Review their memo detailing what measures they propose, and forward it to the Acting Commissioner of Planning. (This procedure may well change when new Town green building standards are implemented.)

8 comments:

hal samis said...

It is time to get serious about taxes and ways to reduce spending.

Don't expect to see a reduction in taxes come about from a single item savings of $1 million, or $400,000 etc. The only way it can occur is through a little bit here, a little bit there.

And someone, some constituency is going to see their pet projects going unfunded or reduced.

Here is just such an example. Greenburgh can no longer afford to pay lip service to popular manifestos such as energy conservation and open space. This $30,000 expense before bloggers
is not only an ineffectual one but unnecessary when energy savings are promoted by others. The others being NYSERDA, Ms Coddington's new affiliation and even the Con Ed's of the world. What Ms. Coddington really accomplished was fill the racks at Town Hall with the corpses of dead trees. But there is a lot of miles between four color brochures and an actual, meaningful reduction in energy use.
Still even this role could be handled by underutilized Town employees, say the Supervisor's secretary, for one.

But replacing the departing coordinator?...there's no arguing against Democratic political patronage.

If you take that $30,000 and add it to the Town Board's vote to renew, earlier this budget, the Arts Council position and department expenses of $64,972 and the renewal of the Curator for the Hartsdale outdoor sculpture exhibit, and from these three "discretionary" items alone you have a savings of $100,000. However like Ms Coddington, the Director of the Arts Council comes with strong backing from Fairview and this guarantees more patronage on the Town's payroll. The only difference is that if you were to believe the job descriptions and realize analyze what they really say, you would see the the part-time energy conservation coordinator is a real bargain when compared to the part-time Arts Council (consisting of one) at $52,402 but Fairview obviously talks and votes louder.
Witness the Community Center programs.

Still, in a reworking of the chicken or the egg, which comes first, rehire the Arts Director or "we can't afford to live in Greenburgh anymore".

Hopefully energy conservation doesn't have the same allure for parents who contribute their children for public relations purposes. But who knows, maybe there will be kids appearing at Town Board meetings dressed as energy efficient light bulbs.

Is this capricious spending really a problem? Despite soon to be forgotten assurances to the contrary, taxes in unincorporated will go up another 15% at a minimum in 2009 and be even higher in 2010 when the NYS retirement system acknowledges and passes on the results of today's financial investments imbroglios. Part of the local unincorporated increases will result from the $68 per family for the Library, part of the increase will come from the substantially higher new Library operating budget (bigger building, more shelves to fill), part of the increase will be the ever higher capital expenses of the Police Department (what if someone were to die), part of the increases will be from part 2 of the comprehensive plan and part will be from the normal, presumed fixes expenses which rise from inflation as it gets tabulated in the CPI.

But the spiral can be lessened if the Town Board takes some affirmative action. For example, the comprehensive plan expenditure was signed by the Supervisor as a result of the anticipated tennis bubble income. The Supervisor is on record as saying that the Comprehensive Plan contract can be cancelled. Thus, why has he not availed himself of the opportunity to do so and staunch the outward flow of political pork until such time as the tennis bubble income materializes?

It is time to stop talking the talk and take meaningful, if not politically unattractive, steps in the direction of curbing expenses, especially for these non-critical items. It is time to stop being the good guys to a few at the expense of the population at large.

A step in the right direction would be to, right now and without further ado, put this paid position on hiatus until tax increases fall below 10%. After the 2009 Budget is approved and such a lower increase becomes a doubtful reality, the Town Board can revisit this item and re-visit the pork barrel for votes spiral.

Are there three Town Board votes that can start to make a difference?
That remains to be seen.

samis should run said...

a big amen to mr samis.
his voice is the kind we need on the town council.

he, unlike, the nitpickers (now going by the name of "x") has real world experience and sees the bigger picture.

run samis run.
just a reminder, juettner's term is up next year. her inattention to the library fiasco is costing unincorporated taxpayers millions.

sell waterwheel now said...

is time to sell the waterwheel property.

Anonymous said...

We could save money if we made the job of Supervisor part time - and outsourced it.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of taxes, I dont' know why everyone says there was no tax increase over the last two years. I checked my property at www.greenburghny.com 's GIS section and my current total property tax (everything combined) is 6.2% higher than the previous year. I live in Hartsdale in the Greenburgh Central district. Granted the "town tax" only went up $17, but the town tax is only 18% of my bill.

Frank Lee said...

Once again, I applaud Mr. Samis for his constructive input and having the courage to stand behind his convictions and ascribe his name to his posts.

Concerned Parent said...

Paul,

one way to ease the tax on people is to give a rebate for tax payers that don't use Central 7, and /or the villages can go to central 7 and contribute to the tax base. Since Central 7 is such a good school I'm sure there will be people in the villages that will want to attend.
After all Supervisor if you had the choice wouldn't you put your daughter in Central 7?

#9 said...

Dear Concerned Parent -
For the umpteenth time, you must understand there is NO, repeat NO connection between the Greenburgh Central School District and the Town of Greenburgh - except that the Town is the receiver of taxes AND the assessor for the School District. Officials of the School District are STATE officials - Town officials rank below them (a fact of protocol which has apparently upset Town Supervisors throughout NY State).