City Puts Watchdog on JFK Library
Task Force Will Name Committee To Monitor Environmental Study
The Harvard Square Task Force will name a committee of Harvard and MIT professors within the next week to monitor the federal government's environmental study of the Kennedy Library.
Appointment of the 15-to-20-person committee of academics is the strongest indication to date of the Task Force's desire to keep a wary eye on the environmental study to be conducted by the General Services Administration (GSA).
One purpose of the committee is to keep them [GSA] honest," Rev. Richard Shmaruk, a spokesman for the Task Force, said yesterday.
Oliver Brooks, chairman of the Task Force, said yesterday that the new committee--called the Academic Technical Advisory Committee--would examine the framework of the environmental impact statement, looking especially at data collection and data analysis.
The environmental statement must be completed with positive results before construction of the Kennedy Library can begin on the 12-acre Charles River site across from Eliot House.
Robert T. Griffin, overseer of the GSA environmental study, said yesterday that he had not been consulted on the committee's formation and was "somewhat apprehensive" of the committee's role.
According to Griffin's timetable, the GSA will complete its scope of work report--an outline of subjects to be covered by the study--within a week and then will solicit bids from consultant firms for the actual environmental impact study.
"The consultant will work for the GSA, but we have insured the Task Force that they will have ample input," Griffin said.
He said, however, that the opportunity for input is being offered by the GSA as a courtesy and is not required by law in the early stages of the impact statement.
Brooks said yesterday that he was still in the process of recruiting professors to serve on the committee and declined to specify any of the members already selected.
Griffin said that on first glance he thought the new committee was trying to do the GSA's work. "They are talking about GSA's role; its a job we are going to do and do well. We're not going to delegate our responsibility," Griffin said.
Brooks said the committee is not meant "to overlap or duplicate government studies, but rather to take a look at the framework of the studies and develop its own independent judgement of the way the work is proceeding."