10. Commission Structure and Operation
10.1 Functions of the Commission
The Pine Barrens Protection Act, in ECL Section 57-0119(6), establishes
the Commission's areas of authority. These include, in part, the authority
Prepare, adopt, enforce and implement this Plan
Establish and operate the transfer of development rights system
Adopt such rules and regulations which are necessary to fulfill its
Hold hearings on Plan amendments, development applications within its
jurisdiction and other matters within its area of responsibility
Establish a staff, contract for assistance or utilize state and county
agency staff as may be made available
Establish and maintain a public education and outreach program relating
to the Commission's work
Convene meetings, conferences and technical sessions as deemed necessary
to its responsibilities
Encourage scientific and technical work, as resources permit, which
assists municipalities with conforming to the Plan
Provide a yearly report of activities to the Governor, the State Legislature
and local officials
10.2 Future Commission efforts and staffing
To date, the Commission has been staffed and supported by a cross section
of personnel representing various disciplines, skill levels and technical
emphasis. The support of these agencies and organizations is gratefully
acknowledged by the Commission. A special expression of thanks is
given to the Suffolk County Water Authority for providing a steady commitment
of personnel on loan to the Commission during the planning period.
Upon final ratification of this Plan, the Commission will remain a
permanent, functioning government entity. It will seek to ensure compliance
with the provisions of the Pine Barrens Protection Act and strive to facilitate
full implementation of this Plan.
This spectrum of responsibilities will include:
Supporting the transfer of development rights program and clearinghouse.
This would include, for example, supporting the Board of Advisors' work.
Providing technical assistance where feasible to the acquisition effort.
This could include data management and cartography.
Reviewing, and issuing decisions on, development projects within the
jurisdiction of the Commission. This includes application completeness
review, logistical arrangements for hearings, substantive review of applications
and coordination among the municipalities and the Commission.
Holding hearings on applications, Plan amendments and other matters
Recommending any legislative changes required to fulfill the goals and
objectives of the statute. Examples of this appear in Chapter 9 of this
Supporting, to the extent staff and other resources permit, the ongoing
public lands and resource management efforts within the Central Pine Barrens,
especially within the Core Preservation Area. Excellent examples of this
work include support for the Protected Lands Council and the Law Enforcement
Council described in Chapter 7 of this Plan.
While the specification of precise budgets must necessarily remain
a yearly effort, the areas of discipline which these ongoing responsibilities
require can be addressed. These areas do not necessarily correspond to
staff members, and responsibilities may be shared across such members.
Areas of expertise which would be most utilized, either through in house
staff or by associated outside personnel, include:
Planning, environmental analysis and community design.
Natural resources management.
Water resources management.
Data management and cartography.
Real property expertise.
Administration, including budget management, office establishment and
operation, staff allocation, business planning, etc.
Finance and accounting.
The Commission recognizes that it must accomplish its statutory mission
in a manner which is both effective and efficient. It further recognizes
that this dual criteria must be applied and adhered to permanently,
and not simply initially, nor only on the pages of this document.
Towards this end, this Plan proposes that the Commission's year by
year staffing levels, as well as the suite of skills encompassed by the
staff, be concentrated upon the specific functions specified in this section,
with additional duties added as future circumstances specifically warrant.
It further proposes that these staffing decisions be made upon a year by
year basis, perhaps as part of a two to three year business plan.
This approach ensures that the Commission, staff, working Councils
and committees always have specific, tangible and achievable goals, each
with an associated near term deadline.
Additionally, the Commission recognizes that effectiveness and efficiency
are best blended by a combination of permanent, professional staff, dedicated
to the goals of this Act and directly responsible to the Commission, and
a close working relationship with other agency staff, elected officials,
citizen and professional organizations, property owners, resource managers,
and all interested and affected individuals. Many of the necessary mechanisms
for this ongoing work have been already established through the planning