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Summary of October 28th Meeting

posted Nov 10, 2011, 9:08 AM by Robert DuPont

Alliance for Regulatory Coordination

Summary of Member Meeting

Meeting Date: October 28, 2011

Location: Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

The meeting was convened at 9:35 a.m. by Bob DuPont, of Regulatory Guidance and Design, LLC. Attendees introduced themselves and identified the organization they were representing.

DuPont reminded attendees about the opportunity for ARC members to receive a $100 discount on courses provided by the University of Wisconsin, Department of Engineering Professional Development. He reviewed the process by which members and staff of ARC member organizations can obtain the discount. Although no organization represented at the meeting had yet placed the UW-EPD registration link on their web site, several are poised to do so. Bob said he is preparing text to be added to the ARC web site which would direct readers to the members-only sections of the web sites of ARC member organizations.

Attendees next heard informal reports from several representatives who have met with leadership in the Department of Safety and Professional Services, DSPS. Main points from those meetings were:

  • During several such meetings Secretary Ross conveyed the message that state government needs to be more user friendly to small businesses.
  • John Murray, Executive Assistant of DSPS, shared with some ARC members, ideas developed by Department staff relative to possible statute changes, describing them as focusing on minor issues.
  • Secretary Ross expressed to several ARC members that he thought there could be better coordination between building officials and fire officials.
  • Some business and labor representatives told the Secretary that their groups want efficient and effective enforcement, but not a general abolishment of state laws and codes.
  • It appears to some that DSPS leadership is looking at virtually every program and service of the Safety and Buildings Division with an eye towards discontinuing state services that are redundant with municipal services, or that could instead be provided by municipalities.
  • Secretary Ross is scheduled to attend meetings of some ARC members within the next two months. It is hoped that a better understanding of the Department’s direction and leadership will result.
DuPont said that he thought that DSPS was focusing on reviewing their physical plant needs now. He reported hearing that most of the ERS petroleum laboratories may be closing, which could pave the way for S&B outer offices to be moved into state owned office buildings in La Crosse and Green Bay. With the focus now on office space, Bob suggested that the DSPS leadership may not be focused on code councils and other operational aspects of the regulatory programs of interest to ARC members.

DuPont next summarized the recent organizational changes that have taken place involving the Safety and Buildings Division. Credentialing operations have been consolidated at “DSPS East”; the Program Development Bureau has been moved into the Division of Board Services; and for operational purposes, the Division of Environmental and Regulatory Services has been rolled into the Safety and Buildings Division. Bob said he understands that some relocated S&B supervisors have been given assignments that involve programs outside of the traditional scope of the Safety and Buildings Division. For example, Berni Mattsson, Director of the Bureau of Program Development has also been assigned to work with six boards associated with the former Department of Regulation and Licensing. DuPont suggested that the funding and spending related to such additional assignments is something that bears watching, so that monies paid for S&B services are not spent in program areas not related to S&B services.

There were no concerns expressed by attendees related to the changes summarized by DuPont. Bob Premo suggested that ARC request that DSPS communicate the new organizational structure to its customers, along with information about who has been assigned to fill voids caused by recent resignations and retirements.

John Mielke suggested that ARC send a letter to Secretary Ross outlining the outcomes that ARC members would like to see relative to operational and organizational changes within DSPS. Others agreed with John and the group developed the following five outcomes to be mentioned:

Maintain a high level of expertise among staff.

Maintain capacity to provide timely services.

Continue utilization of citizen advisory councils for code development.

Keep up with the review of national codes and standards.

Keep lines of communication open.

DuPont said that within the next week he would draft such a letter to Secretary Ross for ARC members to review.

Betsy Ahner said that having industry involvement in the code development process helps get agreement from everyone. Jeff Beiriger suggested that code councils should have more involvement in code interpretation in addition to their involvement in code development.

Attendees agreed that DuPont should request an introductory meeting between ARC representatives, and Nancy Mistele and Kelli Kaalele, Administrators of the Division of Safety and Buildings and the Division of Board Services, respectively.

Due to time constraints the discussion about creating a state trust fund for Safety and Buildings was put off until the next meeting of ARC members. There was general agreement that statute changes in this regard were not likely during the current legislative session.

DuPont recommended that he start meeting with groups of ARC members who are interested in specific program areas, such as plumbing, electrical, fire safety and administration of the Commercial Building Code. Bob said that the compilation of ARC member interests, created this past summer, indicated interest in a significant number of topics in addition to the top five priorities for all of ARC. He explained that any recommendations to come out of such meetings would be directed to the full ARC membership for consideration. There was general agreement with this recommendation.

The next meeting of Alliance Members was scheduled for January 20, 2012, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., at the headquarters of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin, 5330 Wall St., Madison.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.


Meeting Attendees

Organization Represented

Amy Bliss

Wisconsin Housing Alliance

Betsy Ahner

Wisconsin Propane Gas Association

Bob Kleinheinz

Wisconsin Fire Protection Coalition

Bob Premo

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Brad Boycks

Wisconsin Builders Association

Chris Schoenbeck

Wisconsin Fire Protection Coalition

Jeff Beiriger

Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors of Wisconsin

John Mielke

Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin

Mike Hafeman

Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety

Richard Paur

League of Wisconsin Municipalities

Steve Froemming

International Association of Electrical Inspectors, Wisconsin Chapter

Bob DuPont

Regulatory Guidance and Design, LLC

This summary was prepared by Bob DuPont, Regulatory Guidance and Design, LLC.

It was issued on November 10, 2011.