Steering Committee

US EPA - TAMS Center
4220 S Maryland Parkway Bldg C
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Phone: 702-784-8264
Fax: 702-784-8201

TAMS Steering Committee

There are two options to view the Charter. You can choose to view it here, or download the Charter document:
TAMS Charter [pdf]

Please click on any section to view:


  1. Purpose of this document
  2. Goals
  3. Participation
  4. Membership, Officers, Duties, Elections, Terms of Office

    1. Membership
    2. Nominations, Elections, Terms
    3. Officers, Duties of Officers
  5. Meetings, Decision Making, and Responsibilities of the Steering Committee

    1. Meetings, Recomendations
    2. Decision Making Processes
    3. Responsibilities
    4. Definitions
  6. Charter Review and Amendment
  7. Appendix

Preamble      [top]

The mission of the Tribal Air Monitoring Support (TAMS) Center is to develop tribal capacity to assess, understand, and prevent environmental impacts that adversely affect health, culture, and natural resources. Prioritizing tribal environmental concerns and issues, and responding to shifting tribal air-quality needs, are two key processes that will help to accomplish the TAMS mission.

Fundamental to the TAMS mission is technical training of tribal professionals and technical assistance in air quality measurements. "Air monitoring support," as identified in the Center’s title, is construed broadly and includes:

In addition to training, tribes will gain assistance in technical and analytical services until satisfactory long-term technical support can be secured. As the TAMS Center matures, tribal governments will seek additional training and support as needs arise and other training options become unavailable or unaffordable.

As the TAMS Center endeavors to support tribal priorities for air quality measurements and associated activities, other needs for environmental technical training and support will continue to arise. For example, most tribal environmental programs cover all media and oversee all of the tribe’s natural resources, so in many cases, a broad-based training regimen may be required. We have also come to recognize that many environmental contaminants migrate among air, water, land, and living organisms. Effective management strategies for such contaminants require a clear understanding of contaminant concentrations, fate and transport among all media, and pathways of harm.

Such a multimedia perspective should not be surprising: Most Native American cultures emphasize the intimate relationship and connections among all things, and that awareness is directly applicable to resource management. Protection of air resources is an inherent part of a broader commitment to sustain all tribal lands and resources. This multimedia approach is not only consistent with tribal perspectives but is also the most efficient and effective means of addressing tribal needs for environmental monitoring and assessment. The TAMS Center will continue to develop strategically as tribal governments identify and prioritize objectives for environmental monitoring support. From this perspective, it may be appropriate to assume that the TAMS Center will eventually become the Tribal Environmental Monitoring Support (TEMS) Center.

The TAMS Center represents a collaborative effort among the tribes, ITEP, and EPA to address tribal environmental program development needs. TAMS Center programs are designed to comply with all applicable federal regulations.

  1. Purpose of This Document     [top]

    This charter sets forth the basic goals, principles, and operating procedures for the TAMS Center Steering Committee. The role of the Steering Committee is to:

    • provide timely guidance and information to the Tribal Air Monitoring Support (TAMS) Center staff,
    • inform the development and maintenance of the Center, and
    • ensure that the TAMS Center reflects tribal air monitoring needs and concerns.

    Development of the TAMS Center is heavily dependent on dialog with tribes. The Steering Committee serves as a primary mechanism for this dialog.
  2. Goals     [top]

    The goals of the TAMS Center Steering Committee, and of the TAMS Center, are to:

    • provide a centralized point of contact for tribal air monitoring training, technical support, issues and information;
    • respond to evolving tribal environmental program needs by developing and implementing recommendations reflecting current tribal air monitoring issues;
    • promote and strengthen tribes’ efforts to manage environmental programs through technical training and support and building tribal program capacity; and
    • facilitate intertribal dialog among environmental professionals, encouraging the exchange of knowledge and information.
  3. Participation     [top]

    All federally recognized tribal and intertribal environmental staff, and others engaged in tribal environmental-quality issues, are eligible to use the services of the TAMS Center and participate in its programs. Other individuals may also use TAMS Center services at the discretion of the Steering Committee and TAMS Center.
  4. Membership, Officers, Duties, Elections, Terms of Office    [top]

    1. Membership     [top]

      1. The Steering Committee is an advisory body, and is composed of seven tribal representatives and seven ex officio (by virtue of office or position) members1. Each of the seven tribal representatives must be affiliated with a federally recognized tribe or intertribal group and engaged in tribal environmental quality issues. The ex officio members shall be appointed as follows:

        • one by the ITEP Director,
        • one by the EPA Headquarters Office of Air and Radiation,
        • one by the EPA ORIA Las Vegas Office Director,
        • one by the EPA OAQPS Office Director,
        • one by the regional EPA Tribal Air Coordinators
        • one by the National Tribal Environmental Council, and
        • one by the National Tribal Air Association.
      2. Voting Procedures: The TAMS Center Steering Committee is a consensus based organization, and aspires to achieve consensus wherever possible. When the desired consensus can be reached, no vote will be necessary. When necessary, votes shall only be held when a quorum of voting members is present. Anyone may present a motion after recognition by the Chairperson. Once an issue is presented, the Chairperson shall call for discussion, encouraging the Steering Committee to reach consensus if at all possible. Following the discussion, the Chairperson shall ask if voting members are prepared to forward a motion with the support of a second. If a second is provided, the Chairperson shall determine if a consensus can be reached. If no consensus can be reached, a "voice vote" will be conducted by the Chairperson and recorded by the Administrative Assistant.
      3. Voting: Each elected tribal representative shall have one vote. Ex-Officio members shall not formally vote, but are encouraged to actively participate in discussions and are part of the consensus process.
      4. Elected Steering Committee membership is open to any individual affiliated with a federally recognized tribe or intertribal group and engaged in tribal environmental quality issues. Membership shall be determined by nomination and election by a simple majority of voting members.
      5. The Steering Committee shall be established effective October 1, 2000.
    2. Nominations, Elections, Terms     [top]

      1. Any person engaged in tribal environmental quality issues may make nominations for elected representatives. Once an individual is nominated, the TAMS Center Administrative Assistant will send a letter of notification of nomination to the nominee and to his or her supervisor. To be eligible to participate as a member of the Steering Committee, each nominee must have authorization from an appropriate elected official or his or her supervisor.
      2. Nominees must be affiliated with a federally recognized tribe or intertribal group and must be engaged in tribal environmental quality issues.
      3. Nominations must be submitted prior to the spring meeting each year such that an in-person vote may be held at that meeting prior to the expiration of each member’s term.
      4. The Steering Committee shall elect individuals from the pool of nominees to fill open seats on the Steering Committee. The intent of the Steering Committee is to provide broad, national representation of the variety of circumstances and issues across the Regions, including varying geography and experience levels. Such representation shall be a major consideration for member selection.
      5. The elected representatives shall serve staggered three-year terms that begin October 1 and expire September 30. Elected representatives shall be limited to one term. A second, two-year term, may be approved if the re-election is competed with new applicants and approved by consensus or a super-majority Steering Committee vote if necessary. After serving one term or a maximum of two terms, representatives may only be re-elected after two additional terms have passed. There are no term limits for ex-officio members. Ex officio members shall be appointed and serve at the discretion of the organizations they represent.
      6. If an elected representative resigns before the normal expiration of the term, the Chairperson shall request nominations for the vacated position. After receiving the nominations, the Chairperson shall convene the Steering Committee physically or through other means (written or oral), and the Committee shall vote to elect the new member to complete the term of the vacated steering committee seat.
    3. Officers, Duties of Officers     [top]

      1. Chairperson. The Chairperson shall facilitate, or designate a facilitator, for discussion and consensus during Steering Committee meetings, and conducts business in an orderly fashion. The Chairperson may convene separate subcommittees to accomplish goals and objectives. If the Chairperson cannot attend a Steering Committee meeting, the Vice-Chairperson shall be designated to act in his or her place. The Chairperson shall be elected by the Steering Committee through majority vote. When the Steering Committee is not in session, the Chairperson acts as it’s head, it’s representative to the outside world, and as its spokesperson. The Chairperson is elected by a majority vote.
      2. Vice-Chairperson. The Vice-Chairperson is responsible for ensuring that the Administrative Assistant or designee creates a written record of all meetings, teleconferences, and discussions, as well as arranging for the transmittal of this information to all members of the Steering Committee, and other individuals as identified. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson takes over the responsibilities of the Chairperson. The Vice-Chairperson shall be elected by the Steering Committee through a majority vote.
      3. The terms of office for the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson shall be one year. Terms are limited to one year but may be extended once by consensus only.
      4. Administrative Assistant. The Administrative Assistant shall be responsible for:

        • scheduling meetings;
        • notifying Committee members of meetings and agenda items;
        • creating a written record of Steering Committee meetings, teleconferences, and discussions; and
        • providing logistical support as necessary.
  5. Meetings, Decision Making, and Responsibilities of the Steering Committee     [top]

    1. Meetings, Recommendations     [top]

      1. The Steering Committee provides recommendations to the TAMS Center staff. The TAMS Center staff reviews the recommendations for feasibility and other concerns and reports their findings to the Steering Committee. The TAMS Center staff may also bring recommendations to the Steering Committee for review.
      2. The Steering Committee meets quarterly, with additional meetings and conference calls as necessary. The spring and fall meetings are in-person meetings with attendance strongly recommended. The interim meetings may be conducted through a conference call. Agendas and reports shall be made available to the public through the Internet or other means. All meetings shall be open.
      3. Steering Committee members should make every effort to participate in meetings. If they cannot participate, they may submit in writing their comments and recommendations prior to the meeting.
      4. A Steering Committee member may submit a proxy vote for a planned action, in writing, to the TAMS Center Co-Directors. The Co-Directors shall represent that representative’s position in the consensus or voting process should that become necessary. A proxy vote shall not transmit any authority to represent a position not described by the representative in advance of the discussion.
      5. Regular absence from meetings may lead to replacement of a member. Members may not appoint an alternate representative to participate in their absence. In the event that an individual Steering Committee member anticipates enough absences to warrant appointing an alternate, the Steering Committee may elect to replace that member.
      6. Under direction of a TAMS Center Co-Director, the Administrative Assistant shall submit a call for topics to all members at least 30 days prior to a scheduled meeting.
      7. Under direction of a TAMS Center Co-Director, the Administrative Assistant shall submit a draft agenda to all members at least 15 days prior to a scheduled meeting.
      8. Under direction of a TAMS Center Co-Director, the Administrative Assistant shall accept agenda items from all members up to 7 days prior to a scheduled meeting.
      9. The Co-Directors of the TAMS Center shall make periodic reports to the Steering Committee on:

        • expenditures,
        • budget development, and
        • accomplishments.
      10. The Administrative Assistant shall be responsible for distributing copies of meeting proceedings and Steering Committee recommendations to all Steering Committee members, and to appropriate TAMS Center staff.
      11. Discussions and divergent viewpoints on all decisions and discussion points shall be reflected in the meeting minutes. Individual votes and names of voting members shall be recorded.
    2. Decision Making Processes     [top]

      All Steering Committee members, voting and non-voting, may participate in deliberations and discussion related to Steering Committee decision making, and are included in the consensus process. However, should consensus be unattainable, only voting members may vote in the majority voting processes as outlined below. All members are responsible for representing the TAMS Center in their day-to-day communications.

      1. Consensus. Recommendations for the TAMS Center shall be based on consensus, including determining priorities for each fiscal year and recommending budget allocations. All Steering Committee members participate in the consensus process.
      2. Majority Vote. Simple majority vote shall be the method used for elections, modifications to the Charter, and other similar decisions, as determined by the Steering Committee.
      3. Super-Majority Vote: A vote of more than a simple majority. A super-majority shall require the agreement of five (5) of the seven voting members.
    3. Responsibilities    [top]

      The Steering Committee shall advise the TAMS Center staff regarding the following:

      1. Tribal priorities and evolving concerns. (ITEP and the TAMS Center will also play a role in assessing these issues);
      2. The development and/or implementation of TAMS Center training programs, facilities and physical resources; clearinghouse and repository services, functions and development; and program development priorities for TAMS Center activities;
      3. The development of channels for communication between tribal staff and other interested parties and the TAMS Center on matters relative to TAMS activities; and
      4. Any other recommendations related to implementation of the mission and goals of the TAMS Center.
    4. Definitions:    [top]

      • Consensus: an opinion or agreement reached by the group as a whole, lacking dissent.
      • Simple Majority: one more than half of those voting, or a minimum of four votes.
      • Super-Majority: a number greater than one half of voting members, such as five.
  6. Charter Review and Amendment    [top]

    The Charter shall be reviewed and amended as necessary upon vote of all voting Steering Committee members. Ex officio, ITEP and TAMS Center staff members may provide recommendations to the voting membership.

    • Steve Crawford, Environmental Director, Passamaquoddy Tribe-Pleasant Point, Maine
    • Jeremy Howe, Air Quality Specialist, Little River Band of Ottawa, Michigan
    • Danieala Nieto, Environmental Program Director, Delaware Nation, Oklahoma
    • Brenda Sakizzie, Senior Air Quality Specialist, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Colorado
    • Syndi Smallwood, Environmental Director, Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, California
    • Bill Thompson, Air Program Manager, Penobscot Indian Nation, Maine
    • Roger Turner, Air Quality Manager, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Idaho
  7. Appendix    [top]

    The original Charter was approved in 2000 by the voting membership below:

    • Randy Ashley, Air Quality Program Manager, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, Montana
    • Les Benedict, Assistant Director of Environmental Programs, St. Regis Band of Mohawk Indians, New York
    • TallChief Comet, Environmental Programs Director, Blue Lake Rancheria, California
    • Darrel Harmon, Air Quality Manager, Penobscot Nation, Maine
    • Rose Lee, Air Quality Specialist, Yakama Nation, Washington
    • B. Bobby Ramirez, Air Quality Engineer, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Arizona
    • Ben Stevens, Air Quality Technician, Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, Alaska
    • Joy Wiecks, Air Quality Technician, Fond du Lac Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota

For more information, please contact:
Darlene Santos