Louisville’s Air Pollution Control District is almost finished with the first phase of its restructuring.
The agency has been undergoing reorganization for the past few months, in the wake of several critical audits that found faults in the way regulators handled air pollution monitoring. Director Keith Talley told the Metro Council Committee on Sustainability today that the agency’s non-union members had all re-applied for positions, and two employees had been laid off.
In response to questions about how the agency will do a better job with fewer people, Talley told the committee that the agency had been structured improperly, with too many lower-level employees.
“So the shrinkage we see, we beefed up the quality assurance and quality control side, and due to the use of newer equipment that’s more uniform, in terms of the type of the equipment at each of the monitoring sites, we’re able to have fewer field personnel,” he said.
Many of those field personnel Talley refers to are union members, and negotiations with the union are ongoing. But in response to questions about whether the APCD was “union-busting,” Talley replied “no.”
“It’s not just all union positions that have been changed and job descriptions that have been rewritten,” he said. “We looked at the entire agency and went through that process. This certainly wasn’t directed at union personnel, it was directed at trying to do the things necessary to make us a better agency.”
Environmental groups have expressed concerns that the restructuring will weaken the agency and its response to odor and pollution issues.