December 4, 2013 Meeting Minutes

  MINUTES
 

DRYCLEANER ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE TRUST FUND
COUNCIL of ILLINOIS

CHICAGO MARRIOTT NAPERVILLE
NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS

DECEMBER 4, 2013

John Polak, Chairperson, called the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Council of Illinois meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. A quorum was present. Roll call was taken with the following members present:

John Bredenkamp
Sung Kang
Daniel Kim
Young B. Kim
Paul Kwak
Jerry Lewicki
John Polak (via telephonic conference)

Also present were:
H. Patrick Eriksen, Program Administrator's Office
John McCarthy, Program Counsel
Juho So, Program Administrator's Office
Yong Kim, Program Administrator's Office

PRELIMINARY BUSINESS

The minutes from the October 16, 2013 Council meeting were reviewed. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Mr. Lewicki and seconded by Mr. Bredenkamp. Mr. Kang commented that he still did not understand why he could not add topics to the agenda as requested at the October 16, 2013 Council meeting.  A discussion ensued regarding Mr. Kang’s comment. Mr. McCarthy asked Mr. Kang if he had any corrections to the minutes. Mr. Polak commented that it appeared Mr. Kang was mixing two (2) separate issues. One was the acceptance of the minutes as to their accuracy and the second is whether he agreed with the decisions the Council made.

After additional discussion, the minutes were approved by a vote of 6-0-1, with Mr. Kang abstaining. Mr. Polak noted that Mr. Kang could revisit the issue of putting items on the agenda for the next Council meeting under “Other Issues.”
  APPEAL OF LICENSE LATE PAYMENT FEES
  A.

Waiver of the 60-Day Timeframe for Appealing License Late Payment Fees Fabric Express Cleaners, Inc., Chicago, IL; Site #0002073:

   

Mr. Eriksen reviewed background information with the Council noting that Fabric Express Cleaners, Inc. assumed operations of Fabric Express Cleaners in October 2011. The facility was licensed for 2011 and 2012.

The license fee for 2013 was not paid until April 26, 2013, resulting in license late payment fees of $365. Mike and Andleeb Rasheed were listed as the managers for this drycleaning facility. The Fund billed the drycleaning facility for the license late payment fees and received via facsimile on June 25, 2013, a letter from Andleeb Rasheed stating they did not have the money to pay the late fees and requested the late fees be waived.

The Administrator responded on June 27, 2013 to Andleeb Rasheed stating he was unable to waive the license late payment fees but that if she wished to appeal his decision, she may do so by presenting her objection or reason for disagreement in writing to the Council within 60 days of the date of the letter. The Rasheeds failed to appeal the Administrator’s denial of the waiver of the license late payment fees within the 60-day timeframe, which ended August 27, 2013.

On September 26, 2013, the Administrator received a letter from the facility operator, Syed Imran Shah, stating the Rasheeds were their full-time managers and were in charge of making all payments to the Fund and all other vendors. He recently discovered they were not doing their job and their employment was terminated. Mr. Shah is requesting the opportunity to appeal the late fees directly to the Council.

Mr. Eriksen stated the first issue before the Council is do they wish to waive the 60-day timeframe for appealing the license late payment fees? If the Council grants the waiver of the 60-day appeal timeframe, then Mr. Shah could appeal the license late payment fees directly to the Council

On a motion by Mr. Bredenkamp and a second by Mr. Young B. Kim, the Council voted 7-0 not to waive the 60-day timeframe for appealing the Administrator’s denial of waiver of the license late payment fees in the amount of $365 for calendar year 2013.

  OPERATIONAL ISSUES
  A.

Potential Meeting Dates for Calendar 2014:

   

Mr. Eriksen reviewed with the Council potential meeting dates for calendar year 2014. Tentatively, seven (7) meetings are scheduled with the Strategic Planning Meeting planned for August 27, 2014. It was the consensus among the Council members that the tentative dates were acceptable at this time.

  APPROVAL OF PROGRAM BILLINGS
 

Mr. Eriksen noted there were four (4) invoices before the Council for their review and approval. Three (3) invoices were included in the Council packet and the fourth was Williams & Company’s November invoice, which was sent via email to the Council members on December 2, 2013. The bills were as follows:

 

1. Williams & Company Consulting, Inc         $51,906.00
Standard flat fee billing for October 2013, licensing, underwriting, claims processing and site inspections.

 

2. John J. McCarthy                                      $2,215.00
Professional legal services to the Council for the period of October 4, 2013 through November 20, 2013.

 

3. Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP                                     $1,039.73
Professional legal services to the Council for the period of August 7, 2013 through October 3, 2013.

  4. Williams & Company Consulting, Inc         $57,554.00
Standard flat fee billing for November 2013, licensing, underwriting, claims processing and site inspections.
 

On a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Bredenkamp, the bills were approved by a vote of 7-0.

  REVIEW OF ACTIVITY REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
 

Mr. Eriksen noted that as of October 31, there were 975 licensed drycleaners compared to 1,012 one (1) year earlier; 526 drycleaners had pollution insurance coverage with the Fund and there were 209 open remedial claims, with estimated reserves of $25 million.

The Fund balance as of October 31, 2013 was $2,115,335; year-to-date claim payments totaled $638,523.

  CLAIM PAYMENTS IN EXCESS OF $75,000
 

Three (3) claim payment requests in excess of $75,000 required Council review and action. Two (2) requests were included in their Council packet and the third was sent via email to the Council members on December 2, 2013.

Dr. Juho So reviewed the claim payment information with the Council.

 

A.

Art Cleaners, Tinley Park, IL; Claim #50282, Site #001706:

   

Dr. So stated the Administrator is requesting budget approval for $30,000 in remedial action costs. He reviewed background information with the Council noting that active remediation had taken place at the facility but sampling events completed in October 2013 indicated additional hot spots remain. The environmental consultant has proposed costs for additional remedial activity to address these soil exceedants. Cleanup costs to date total $148,357.

On a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Bredenkamp, the Council approved the $30,000 by a vote of 7-0.

Mr. Kang asked how long this cleanup process has been going on. Dr. So replied for approximately 6-7 years. Significant time had been spent attempting to obtain a groundwater ordinance from the city of Tinley Park in order to eliminate the need for active remediation at the site. Discussions between the environmental consultant, the city of Tinley Park and adjacent property owners broke down and active remediation was required and injection of chemical oxidant began in July 2011.

 

B.

Sanders Cleaners, Northbrook, IL; Claim #50059, Site #0001649:

   

The Administrator is requesting budget approval for $17,750 in site investigation costs. Dr. So briefly reviewed with the Council site investigation activities that had previously been conducted at the facility, including remediation that was completed in 2007; however, no activity had taken place since that date. Additional site investigation is warranted to determine the level of contamination that remains at the property. Currently, $174,293 has been approved for the facility. It is anticipated the remaining cleanup can be completed for less than the $300,000 remedial benefit cap.

On a motion by Mr. Young B. Kim and a second by Mr. Lewicki, the Council approved the $17,750 in site investigation costs by a vote of 7-0.

  C.

T J Cleaners, Bartlett, IL; Claim #50738, Site #0001743:

   

The Administrator is requesting budget approval for implementation of remedial activities involving the injection of chemical oxidant totaling $144,000. Dr. So noted the soil contamination will be treated using Chemical Oxidant Retention Ponds (CORPs). In addition, he is requesting waiver of the two (2) bid requirement inasmuch as the environmental consultant has extensive knowledge of the facility and is familiar with the site specific condition which was important to the successful implementation of the remedial activities.

On a motion by Mr. Bredenkamp and a second by Mr. Lewicki, the Council approved $144,000 in remedial action costs and waiver of the two (2) bid requirement by a vote of 7-0.

 

Mr. Eriksen commented he might have a cost approval to submit to the Council in the next few weeks in order for remedial activities to begin prior to winter weather setting in. The environmental consultant at this time was still compiling information for review by the Administrator and staff.

Mr. Bredenkamp stated he liked the addition of the photographs with the claim payment requests as the photographs help define the proposed remedial activities.

  OTHER ISSUES AS PRESENTED
 

Mr. Eriksen noted the next Council meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, January 29, 2014.

The Auditor General’s Office has completed the audit fieldwork. A draft of the audit report should be available after the first of the year.

The Perc Operator Training is substantially complete. The Administrator and staff have worked diligently with representatives of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and it is tentatively scheduled for the training to be available via the Fund’s website on Monday, December 16, 2013.

Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Eriksen will be participating in an administrative hearing regarding the appeal of civil penalties assessed against a solvent distributor on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, in Edwardsville, IL.

Mr. Kang addressed the Council and provided them with several handouts that included the May 14, 2009 Council meeting minutes and a copy of HB3349, along with a PowerPoint handout sheet. Mr. Kang stated the IEPA Perc Operator Training timeframe is too short for all the drycleaners to complete by January 1, 2014 and additional time is needed in order for the drycleaners to complete the course. Mr. Kang made a motion to extend the training timeframe from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2015. Mr. Young B. Kim seconded the motion. Mr. Eriksen commented that this is not a date that the Council can change nor can it be changed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The January 1, 2014 date was established by the legislature and can only be changed via legislative action.

A lengthy discussion ensued regarding the ability of the Council to act on topics that had not been listed on the meeting’s agenda and questions Mr. Kang raised on procedural issues involving the licensing and licensing renewal process. Mr. McCarthy clarified the Council could only take an official position (i.e., vote) on topics/issues that had been listed on the meeting’s agenda.

Mr. Lewicki made a motion to request that Mr. Kang’s motion to direct the Administrator to contact IEPA and the Illinois Legislature and request the January 1, 2014 Perc Operator Training date be extended to January 1, 2015 be placed on the Council’s January 2014 meeting agenda.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Bredenkamp. On a roll call vote, the motion failed by a 2 to 4 vote with Mr. Kang and Mr. Young B. Kim voting in favor and Mr. Bredenkamp, Mr. Daniel Kim, Mr. Kwak and Mr. Lewicki voting in opposition to the motion.

  PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
 

Ms. Sue Kratz asked if the Council had information on when the Drycleaner Environmental Response Task Force would be appointed. Mr. Eriksen stated that there was no new information at this time. He reported Mr. Sung Kang and Rep. Mike Tryon had been appointed to the task force by the House Minority Leader.

Ms. Heidi Park questioned why the Fund was paying $100 for a telephone line for Mr. Polak to participate in the Council meetings. She believes the Council should look at other communication methods to eliminate this cost because the drycleaners cannot afford this additional fee.

  ETHICS TRAINING
 

Mr. Eriksen reviewed in detail with the Council the 39-page document for Ethics Training for calendar year 2013 for appointees to State of Illinois boards. Mr. Eriksen reviewed numerous examples of potential conflicts of interest and prohibited offers or promises.

  CLOSED SESSION
 

Mr. Eriksen noted there were matters for discussion involving potential litigation for discussion by the Council in Closed Session. On a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Bredenkamp, the Council voted 7-0 to go into Closed Session at 12:03 p.m.

The Council returned from Closed Session at 12:11 p.m. On a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Young B. Kim, the Council voted 7-0 to reduce the license late payment fees for Sparks Drive-In Cleaners in Morris, IL to $168.

There being no further business, on a motion by Mr. Bredenkamp and a second by Mr. Lewicki, the Council voted 7-0 to adjourn the meeting at 12:15 p.m.

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