Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Questions Raised By Cathy Stepp's All-Employee Christmas Message

Cathy Stepp's "Christmas message" sent Monday across the DNR raises a few questions:

*  Though no doubt well-intentioned, is it appropriate for state public agency heads to send out Christmas messages?  

"Soon "we'll be connecting...for Holiday celebrations?" Check you calendar, Madame Secretary: Hanukah ended the night before your message. That's the kind of trouble you can get yourself into with conflating "Christmas" and "Holiday celebrations" at this time of year.

And, separately, on the environmental program side: is the "air as clean as it's been in Wisconsin in decades," as claimed? Sure did seem like there were a lot of dirty air alerts this year.

Some numbers in this report by the American Lung Association show some back-sliding in some particulate matter readings gathered for the Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, and Green Bay regions.

Anyway: here is the message, in full (bold-facing in the original):
From: Lamers, Holly J - DNR On Behalf Of Stepp, Cathy L - DNR
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2012 3:46 PM
Subject: Christmas Message

Dear Colleagues,

Soon we’ll all be connecting with family and friends for Holiday celebrations.  I wish you all safe travels and all the joy and fun the season has to offer.

It’s been a remarkable year for us. We’ve dealt with a devastating drought, and we’ve implemented a historic modern wolf hunt. Parks attendance is up, and more than 29,000 people came to the hunting community under the new hunter license. Air is as clean as it’s been in Wisconsin in decades.  We managed to have fewer than normal fires in Northern Wisconsin, in spite of the blowdown fuel on the ground. All over Wisconsin I am hearing rediscovered and sincere respect for the department and for your work. 

EVERY JOB in this agency contributes to our success, from helping customers in the call center, to getting staff on board and paying bills, checking air monitors, inspecting dams, and keeping our parks clean and inviting, to prescribed burns, banding wildlife, or stocking streams.  It is important for each of you to know we couldn’t do any of it without you and what you do every day.

I’ve said it many times, I am blessed to be able to lead this agency and be your colleague.  From the bottom of my heart – and from Gundy, Matt and the leadership team – have a wonderful holiday and thank you.  


P Cathy Stepp
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


Anonymous said...

Insensitive, ignorant and arrogant

Anonymous said...

This new google format sucks. Very difficult to comment using iPad.

James Rowen said...

To Anon 8:50. Sorry about that. I have had the same problem.

jimspice said...

Is she still using those goofy fonts in her sig?

Anonymous said...

Maybe she was wishing everyone a Happy Winter Solstice? How about a Happy New Year? Sometimes, people feel just...well left out if their "Holiday" isn't this time of year.

Oh well.

Merry Christmas, James.

Anonymous said...

3 days left in Zappadan, she almost missed the boat on that one. In the spirit of Zappadan, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention Cozmik Debris.

Anonymous said...

Her use of the word college gives me the creeps. I don't really think she can relate to being a state worker or a DNR employee.

Gareth said...

As far as clean air in Wisconsin is concerned, my asthmatic lungs tell a different story. In my experience, to find authentically clean air in this state you need to go north of a line extending acoss the state from Wausau, while avoiding the Green Bay area.

Anonymous said...

her failure to acknowledge other holidays is just so out of Stepp.

Anony Too said...

We are SO blessed!!!


(r'cuse me, please) Matt Moron-y
Gun-dy Gun-derson
and Special Hugs to all,
DNR Barbie

Angela said...

Wonderfully crisp and always interesting!