Friday, February 27, 2015

As I have been reporting, WI DNR's #2 is gone

The rumor mill was correct - - the powerful WI DNR Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney has left the agency, but as you will see in these emails circulated by the top people at DNR this evening, no one is saying where Moroney is landing.

He's a smart, organized and productive attorney and former metro Milwaukee developers' association leader. I watched him assertively push for Great Lakes water diversions when he sat on advisory committees to SEWRPC and the State Legislature as they grappled with the Great Lakes Compact and related matters.

My belief is that he is headed either to Walker's campaign, or to the Governor's office as Chief of Staff or filling a new, administrative/policy/campaign committee liaison position.

Here are the agency emails, verbatim - -  first from Secretary Cathy Stepp, followed by a note from Moroney.

My only comment is that Stepp betrays a not-so-surprising ignorance about the origins and implications of the cliche in praise of Moroney that he kept the "trains running on time." Suffice it to say it is not a compliment to him or their working environment. Look it up.

Dear Colleagues,
So, there’s been a lot of change going on in state government lately.  As I preach to others to embrace change, I need to remember that myself sometimes.  Matt’s departure has certainly brought a series of mixed emotions for me and many others in the department.  I’m thrilled for him personally and professionally, as his gifts of facilitation, people management, expediency, and follow through will be on full display for all of state government to gain from in his new role.  As you all know, he has kept the “trains running on time” on “the 8th floor,” making sure documents got signed, thoughtful decisions were made in a timely manner,  and that systems were implemented to support and streamline the good work of our agency.  He has defined “transparency” in state government with his innovative ideas on guidance documents, stewardship program implementation, meetings with staff on all issues you had concerns or questions about.  Always with an honest and frank answer, staff has grown to respect and admire the way he carried himself and portrayed the Office of the Secretary in the most honorable way.  He never let political ideology interfere with the use of sound science, the law, and common sense.  I can honestly say not one thing I tasked him with over the last 4 years has ever fallen through the cracks.  I have never known anyone with a stronger work ethic who still somehow managed to balance family life with his wife and two young children.  He is a role model for us all to look to.
My melancholy moments have been in the realization that I won’t be talking to him a minimum of twice per day, seeing him in the office regularly, and laughing instead of crying when the day’s events seem insurmountable.  Matt and I had a uniquely balanced relationship, running the agency as a team.  Each of us is acutely aware that the job of Secretary is so much more than any one person could manage without engaging gifted and talented people who commit themselves to the mission of our agency with a servant’s heart.
While I was hopeful this announcement would come before Matt reported for duty in his new role, the timing didn’t work out that way.  It would have been great to have time for those of you who wanted to stop by to wish him well and to share a laugh.  Alas, you’ll have to do that by email or phone call…which will probably be easier on him anyway.  We all know he wasn’t much about getting attention or actually having to show emotion!  
Below is a message from Matt that he wanted me to share with all of you:
I wanted to send a quick note to just say “Thank You”!   It was a privilege and an honor to be your coworker the last four years.   I cannot accurately describe in words how much I have appreciated your collective and individual willingness to share your ideas on how to move this organization from good to great! 
There are still many great things to come at the DNR due to the tremendous talent within the DNR at all levels of the organization.   I am confident that Secretary Stepp and the Department Leadership Team will continue to ask for your ideas and will continue to lead the Department forward in a positive direction as One DNR.   The best is yet to come, and I look forward to following your successes.
Once again, Thank You!!!
Matt Moroney


Anonymous said...

Matt's favorite pastime was meeting with DNR "partners" like CAFO owners, mining executives and developers to make sure they had everything they needed and that those nasty lower level staff people treated them with respect. Now Stepp has to find someone else who will take her stupid jokes and obviously painful shoulder slaps. Matt was hard working - just not for the people of Wisconsin.

Anonymous said...

Just found this on

Quite weird - very quietly released and so few would notice. Moroneys new role sounds like he will have plenty of time to work on Walkers campaign - of course he would never do that on state time.

Scott Walker
Press Release
Governor Scott Walker Announces Administrative Appointments

Today, Governor Scott Walker announced the following administrative appointments:
By Scott Walker - Feb 27th, 2015 05:46 pm

Madison – Today, Governor Scott Walker announced the following administrative appointments:

Ray Allen – Secretary, Department of Financial Institutions (DFI)
Matt Moroney – Senior Advisor, Office of Governor Walker

“We’d like to offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to Peter Bildsten for four years of great service to the state of Wisconsin, leading the Department of Financial Institutions, and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Governor Walker said. “I would also like to congratulate Ray and Matt. Both are proven leaders, dedicated to reforming state government to operate effectively, making the best use of state tax dollars. I welcome both of them to their new roles, and look forward to continued innovation as we build a better Wisconsin, together.”

Ray Allen has served at the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) for 18 years, including the last four as Deputy Secretary. The Milwaukee native received a journalism degree from UW-Madison and worked as a marketing representative for John Deere Company. Allen has extensive experience in state government, also serving as appointee in the Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations, Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Employment Relations, Director of the State Office of Employee Development and Training, and as Executive Director of the Technology for Education Board. Allen has been active in the Madison area community, serving on many community boards and commissions, and was elected to three terms on the Madison School Board.

Matt Moroney most recently served the state as Deputy Secretary in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Moroney graduated from Loras College in 1991 with a major in Political Science and Economics and he graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1994. He has worked as an attorney, and was previously the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee.

In his new role, Moroney will oversee the implementation of Governor Walker’s plan to reform state government by merging state agencies, to be more effective, more efficient and more accountable.