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DER REORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE MANAGEMENT AND SERVICES

 DER REORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE MANAGEMENT AND SERVICES
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Reorganization within the


state Department of Environmental Resources (DER) is improving the agency's ability to protect the environment and serve the public, according to a senior DER official.
 Testifying before the state House Conservation Committee today, DER Deputy Secretary Gregg Robertson said the second phase of the department's reorganization sets the stage to streamline operations and continue to improve service.
 "Not only will these changes improve our ability to serve the public," Robertson said, "they also will improve our ability to manage environmental programs in a comprehensive and integrated way."
 Robertson said the changes include consolidating and coordinating related regulatory activities. For example, he said that before the reorganization, a person might need to visit several DER offices to obtain various permits for the same project. Now, permits will be processed from the local DER field offices.
 Robertson said another management change established an office headed by a deputy secretary to oversee all field operations, such as enforcement actions, inspections, permit processing and complaint and emergency responses. He said the change ensures that departmental responsibilities are carried out consistently across the state.
 Deputies also were appointed to manage air quality and waste, water, state parks and forests, and mineral resources.
 Other changes resulting from the reorganization include:
 -- Improved response to environmental complaints. DER has established a system to record and track complaints until they are resolved. Emergencies get immediate response, and non-emergencies are handled within 10 days.
 -- A revamped permit issuing process which clarifies application requirements and improves coordination of multiple permits for complex projects.
 -- Improved response to correspondence. DER has implemented a computerized tracking system with the goal of answering all correspondence within three weeks. Currently the agency receives some 400 letters a week in the executive office alone.
 -- Establishment of liaisons in each regional office to work with local governments and regional staff in resolving problems and to improve communications generally.
 Robertson said the reorganization is the first since DER was established in 1971 with programs from seven separate agencies.
 The reorganization, begun in 1990, followed an extensive study by a national consulting firm, Theodore Barry and Associates of New York City.
 /delval/
 -0- 8/25/92
 /CONTACT: Pam DiSalvo of DER, 717-787-1323/ CO: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


MK -- PH009 -- 2988 08/25/92 11:22 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 25, 1992
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