What are the implications of Gov. Jim Doyle replacing Scott Hassett as DNR Secretary with Corrections Secretary Matt Frank?
1. Frank is a smart guy, and a professional manager, but will have to hustle to get up to speed on large pending issues, including mercury emission controls and the Great Lakes Compact. Both are technical and political issues of the highest magnitude.
2. Frank's appointment further solidifies Doyle's control of the DNR, formerly an independent agency, but a political cabinet appointment thanks to former Gov. Tommy Thompson's aggressive politicization and control of state government.
In January, Doyle named another loyalist, Randy Romanski, as DNR executive secretary. Romanski has held several positions in the Doyle administration, including that of deputy chief of staff in the Governor's office.
Bottom line: Frank's appointment cements lines of communication, policy-making, and other connections between Doyle and the DNR, so when the DNR acts, it is absolutely clear that the position has been cleared, vetted, approved by the Governor and his staff for implementation.