Friday, July 20, 2007

First Impressions On The Shakeup At The Wisconsin DNR

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.

1 comment:

Zach W. said...

As someone who's seen Matt Frank in action, I've never been overly impressed with him as a leader, though I wonder if that's largely due to the fact that his time as an assistant Attorney General was spent primarily dealing with environmental law. Ultimately I think he'll do well as the head of the DNR, but I'll be curious to see how Rick Raemisch does as the head of the DOC.