Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The purge continues at Walker's DNR

Yeah, who needs a 37-year Wisconsin wildlife veteran:

[Tom] Hauge, who served as the DNR's director of wildlife for the last 25 years, was informed Sept. 19 by division administrator Sanjay Olson that he was being reassigned in early October to a district wildlife supervisor position.
The job would be a demotion for Hauge in both authority and pay.
Rather than take it, he exercised his option to retire.
Thus joining a club I wrote about in June which no one should have to join:
After two recent, high-ranking staff departures - - and a host of legal, program and policy changes in state government which have put Wisconsin air, water and land at risk since Gov. Walker's inauguration in January, 2011 - - I thought it was time to get a closer look inside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Because Stepp knows better as she moves Walker's agency 'realignment' forward - - all part of an ideologically-driven plan by right-wing Wisconsin Republicans to prove that government doesn't work by starving it of money, staff, spirit - - and more and more - - expertise.
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
Sound familiar?

Walker salutes Earth Day with 57 layoffs at WI DNR

And also from this post
With his permission, I am adding comments...from Gordon Stevenson, an engineer and former senior DNR manager, who now serves Midwest Environmental Advocates as board secretary and spoke at a a May MEA water program in Milwaukee. This is from his MEA bio:
Gordon is a 26 year veteran of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. His last assignment was serving as the Chief of Runoff Management until his retirement in January of 2011. His professional expertise includes watershed-based water resource protection and control of diffuse water pollution sources. Gordon had been instrumental in development of policies and administrative codes for the State of Wisconsin involving both agricultural and urban nonpoint source water pollution. In particular, Gordon has been an architect of Wisconsin’s environmental programs that apply to Wisconsin’s extensive livestock industry. He wrote and issued the first permits for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Wisconsin, developed technical guidance for abatement of agricultural pollutants in both surface water and groundwater and was the voice of the Department of Natural Resources to Wisconsin’s livestock producer community.
 At the MEA water program, Stevenson said, in part:
For the majority of my career, water policy decisions were based on the strong bond between law and science, the people in charge of making those decisions had conservation and environmental protection credentials, and my colleagues and I shared the belief that Wisconsin's true and sustaining wealth is its clean water.
Much of that is now changed at DNR. Wisconsin DNR's water quality permit program has been found seriously deficient by the US Environmental Protection Agency. DNR is failing to protect downstream water from upstream pollution sources, they are allowing already impaired water bodies to get worse and they are suppressing the public's ability to challenge water quality permit decisions.
Wisconsin DNR's authority to protect Wisconsin's water resources is delegated from EPA. Under the delegation agreement, DNR is obligated to administer the federal Clean Water Act. DNR is not doing so. On behalf of 16 Wisconsin citizens, Midwest Environmental Advocates has filed a Citizens Petition for Corrective Action with the US Environmental Protection agency to correct these deficiencies. The petition seeks to restore the credible water quality protection program that we once had in this state.
We're arriving at an important crossroads in Wisconsin. We have our own version of Flint, Michigan in Kewaunee County where citizens cannot drink the water and we have our own version of the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. A dead zone now also exists in Green Bay that runs from the City of Green Bay all the way up to Marinette.
While I am alarmed, I am also encouraged . We are pleased to report that more than 70 people like me, DNR retirees, along with other credible scientist and partners have signed on to support the Petition for Corrective Action along with our original 16 Wisconsin citizen clients. And the number of people supporting the petition is growing daily.
But in a larger sense. I am even more encouraged that so many Wisconsin citizens believe like I do: that water policy decisions should be based on the strong bond between law and science, that the people in charge of making water quality decisions should have the credentials to do so, and that Wisconsin's true and sustaining wealth is its clean water."


Anonymous said...

Before the civil service "reforms" this probably could not have been done, as seniority carried much more weight.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, this stuff will play big on the national stage in 2018 when Walker leaves the Governor's mansion and frolics around the country on his Harley, doin' photo ops with non-union bikers, and making an ass out of himself at local dining hotspots. He will tell us how he celebrated earth day with these cutbacks and expect the media to cheer and catapult this across America.

Well, the national media isn't as stupid and in-the-tank for Walker as the in-state stenographers, but he has now picked up one big player -- USA Today/Gannett, which now owns his BFF Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

If you liked Scott Walker, you will LOVE Robbin Voss in the Governor's mansion. He is playing the game with tRump now to protect the Wisconsin mafia -- walker/ryan/prebius

This is the next ALEC stooge that will be hoited into the Governor's office and Walker will be the "great uniter" in certain media circles, because he won't directly have the stench of tRump all over him, but kept his thumb in Don the Con's you-know-what just enough to keep close behind. If the Wisconsin mafia is intact, and Paul Ryan is gerrymandered into a seat for life, the party will want Walker on the top in 2020 (All bets are off if tRump somehow is declared the winner)

Anonymous said...

While this is being done at the DNR and it becomes public because a top official is being sacrificed one has to wonder how many mid to upper pay range state employees are being purged from agencies with little or no fanfare because of their loss of civil service protections due to Walker and friends. I bet this purge is being done swiftly and silently with no one counting the destruction as it is occurring over several agencies with the positions being refilled by loyal Walkerites!

Anonymous said...

The word at the DNR is that this guy was told "...dont let the door hit you on the way out..." because he expressed concern about the ramfications of the upcoming "strategic realignment". It is absolutely true that if you dont play Stepps game her way you are shown the door. The DNR is a VERY depressed and non-functional place to be. Environmental concern is not any part of Stepps DNA.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:37

But when I read my local newspaper and even the big state-wide papers, they don't report this stuff and have even endorsed Walker three times? (well, Wisconsin State Journal was sort-of neutral leading up to 2014, but even Madison's daily does not report that these problems exist in DNR's hometown).

What's up with that?

ras said...

Another Science based top tier Administrator forced out of WDNR leadership. Head of Wildlife Division!! They are losing all their best because of Walker/Stepp short term destructive political moves. They are gutting out the WDNR programs from top to bottom.
This talent loss and expertise loss is not replaceable.

Anonymous said...

No one reports this because Walker is nowhere to be seen. The state media is still giving this sleaze a pass. However he will be in my county to appear with Trump. This guy is a soulless monster.

Gary said...

J Feest

old baldy said...

Just a note to clarify thing:

Tom was in the Career Executive classification and served at the whim of the secretary. Changes to the civil service rules really did not affect him.

Having said that, it is ironic that there is a long Q and A article with Tom in the October DNR magazine. Msstepp really has no shame.

Geezer said...

Walker with All his Promises had put Cronies ( Over Double what past Govs did), in key positions to Destroy and sell off our State lands. Wi Employees , low to mid pay range Quit or Retired in RECORD NUMBERS , over 500/month , as they were being Forced out. And , Why are MERCENARIES being allowed as " Security" in Iron? Mines in Northern Wisconsin!?