Thursday, March 30, 2017

Controversial WI DNR Sec. Stepp boosted by strong supporter - - herself

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary and "chamber of commerce mentality" operative Cathy Stepp told state legislators today that when it comes to deleting climate change information agreed upon by a consensus of experts worldwide, terminating the department's popular, subscriber-supported magazine and enabling diminished pollution inspections, Cathy Stepp
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
has done no wrong:
DNR's Cathy Stepp defends her record on climate change and pollution
By the way, this isn't the first time Stepp has been her own best defender.

Here's a more detailed, frequently-updated account of her record and its consequences inside and outside the agency:
The DNR, once a nationally-regarded science-based resource protection agency, has been disregarded, defunded and degraded by management "deliberately and proudly uninformed," according to one first-hand observer among several whom I surveyed over the course of ten days.
Wisconsin's far-right Governor Scott Walker set the DNR's downfall in motion when he appointed at the beginning of his tenure Racine developer and unabashed DNR-trasher Cathy Stepp - - read her anti-DNR-staff-and-program rant while a revealing Stepp video has been taken off-line - - to oversee the DNR as Secretary with what Walker called "a chamber of commerce mentality..." 
A current employe on personal time echoed many of the lobbyists and former staffers' observations:
Under Walker and Stepp, science is not a priority. Scientific knowledge is ever-changing but in Wisconsin our staff are being left behind. We no longer have a statistician to help interpret data, a library to provide journals or books, or researchers that monitor fish counts, wildlife health, air quality, water quality and etc….employee scientific knowledge and data specific to WI is stagnant...we cannot do the best job possible for our state. 
The DNR is currently run by people who understand public relations spin but not the complexity of the natural resources they are responsible for...Communications staff, generally not trained specifically in resource communication, answer questions with talking points..usually developed by upper management - political appointees - and legal staff. The information provided is biased and superficial.
Act 10 and the pay cuts related to that have been hard on a lot of staff...we can no longer hire and/or keep the best and brightest and that is sad. Especially looking back at some of the really ground-breaking research and resulting policy work done here 20-30 years ago. We now do the minimum to protect resources...
We have 2,500 full time staff (down from 3,100) and about 1,500 Limited Term Employees. That is an extremely high number of temporary employees who can and have been fired without any notice. After Civil Service "reforms" which go into effect in July, we will all be subject to that uncertainty. Under these circumstances, collective institutional memory can be lost very quickly...Reinventing the wheel is wasteful... 
Also happening in July is our "Alignment," the new term for reorganization. Anyone not performing a "core function" will be moved to a new job [but] there has been no information provided to staff on just what the core functions are….
I do believe that all the natural resources of Wisconsin belong to the people of Wisconsin...I don't understand why people who live in one of the most beautiful and environmentally diverse places in the world voted for environmental degradation. 


Anonymous said...

I wish someone would ask her directly what the core functions of her agency are. The employees would really like to know.

Boxer said...

Halloween parties and hunting Bambi.

Anonymous said...

As a DNR employee I can tell you its core function: to provide the illusion of an environmental agency so Cath and her top heavy administrative team can collect big salaries (100 k +)and push big business agendas. The environment, the public, and DNR staff are mere pawns.

Its all spelled out in her favorite book "Going from good to Great". Only the top level matters, everyone else is a pawn. Anybody not supporting them is kicked "off the bus". I do not jest. Only a complete idiot could imagine Cath has the slightest interest in the environment or DNR staff. The public is there to superficially placate and manipulate.

Where's the ethics? said...

Secretary Steep needs to come under under investigation for the bait and switch pulled on the application Waukesha submitted to the Great Lakes Governors. Documents were added after the public comment and public hearings were closed. That's a violation of NR statutes, and it was intentional.