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Environmental Agency Flunks "Survey of Organizational Excellence"

Austin...Employees within the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC), the state's pollution control agency, are increasingly dissatisfied with agency management and policies, according to an internal survey released today by Texas Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Texas PEER). On nearly every topic surveyed, TNRCC employees consistently registered more negative responses than employees of other state agencies.

The "Survey of Organizational Excellence" is conducted by the University of Texas School of Social Work to gauge state employee perceptions of working conditions and agency environments. The survey has been administered three times within TNRCC since 1996. Using the state Freedom of Information Act, Texas PEER obtained the 1999-2000 results, which show:

*nearly three in five employees feel a lack "of basic trust among employees and management";

* more than two-thirds believe they must "always go through channels to get their work done" while a strong majority agree that "people who challenge the status quo" are not valued within the organization; and

* a majority believe that information is not "shared openly in this organization".

The survey also reflects increasing employee concern about "organizational quality," strong doubts about whether the agency is "goal-oriented" and a growing sense of burnout. Positive readings about the agency's "physical environment" were countered by sharply negative scores on the competitiveness of salaries and incentives to work harder.

"TNRCC's top-down management style combined with directives to be business-friendly are the ingredients for a demoralized, dis-empowered work force ," commented Texas PEER Coordinator Erin Rogers. "If the state's environmental employees don't trust their own managers to do the right thing, why should the public?"

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