Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Valentine to Cathy Stepp wrapped in a DNR Labor Day message

Whither the Wisconsin environment following Cathy Stepp's resignation and departure for a position with Trump's EPA in Kansas City? 

A clue or two in the Labor Day weekend email - - and I remind you that Wisconsin Gov. Scott ("Act 10") Walker and Labor Day are basically mutually exclusive - - which all DNR staffers got from interim Secretary Kurt Thiede:

I’d like to begin this message by sharing my sincere appreciation and admiration for Secretary Stepp’s leadership over the past 6 ½ years. Her dedication to and passion for this agency, and her applied commitment to our mission and vision was extraordinary. I wish each of you had the opportunity I had these last two years as her Deputy Secretary to see her, on a daily basis, support the work of this agency and its exceptionally talented and dedicated staff. Secretary Stepp will be missed and I wish her nothing but the best as she begins to apply her reform minded and common sense approach to her new job with the EPA.

That said, our work continues here. Looking to September we have a full plate. Our commitment to working with our regulated community and partners gears up as we have a number of high profile projects that will require our attention. The largest and most visible is Foxconn. We hope to soon have a site identified so we can begin to work on the necessary permits to provide a new economic engine to southeastern Wisconsin, that will have a positive impact on the rest of the state as well. We should also be nearing completion of our agency’s budget deliberations in the legislature. We will have put the final pieces in place for our strategic alignment, but still we have more work to do as we continue with implementation.

As we enter Labor Day weekend, our parks, forests, public hunting grounds, trails and lakes will be teaming with visitors. Whether trying to land a walleye, enjoy a campfire, bike, hike, boat or shoot a limit of doves or geese, they will be building these memories thanks in large part to the work each of you performs on a daily basis. Our healthy air, water, fields, parks, trails and forests are a testament to your hard work and your commitment to that work.

Rest assured, I share that commitment. As your Interim Secretary, you have my commitment to pour every ounce of my effort into helping you keep this agency running successfully and efficiently, to being a partner with our stakeholders, seeking creative solutions to challenges, being a champion of your hard work, challenging “the way things have always been”, striving for win-win solutions and making sure the law, common sense and science are our guides.

Thank you again for all you do. If you are working this holiday weekend- a special thank you. I hope each and every one of you, on duty or not, takes a moment to enjoy time with family and friends.

On behalf of Assistant Deputy Secretary Ed Eberle and the entire Department Leadership Team… have a GREAT Labor Day weekend. Together, let’s keep moving the Wisconsin DNR forward.

Kurt Thiede
Interim Secretary
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
101 S. Webster Street


Joshua Skolnick said...

What a pile of glittering generalities and vapid formulaic cliches this statement was. And was "teaming with visitors" your mistake through autocorrect or something like that or his error. If his error, he doesn't even have basic command of the English language, which you would think would be a prerequisite to being a career executive or department head in government, or anywhere else, unless English was his second language.

James Rowen said...

"Teaming" is in what was sent to me.

Unknown said...

I cannot think of a better person to run the DNR than Kurt Thiede. He has a clear understanding of the very different aspects of DNR work. He has the academic background and a sharp mind that is needed for a DNR secretary. HIs years of hands on experience at different positions at DNR provide experiential perspective that is not found in political appointees.

Kurt serves with excellence in every positions he finds himself in.

Anonymous said...

This is gross. And if you think things will change with a change of Secretary, he puts those thoughts to rest. I assume he will be interim Secretary until after the election. After Walker is again re-elected he can appoint whomever he wants to gut Wisconsin with impunity.

James Rowen said...

@Scott Pitta - - Walker runs what is left of the DNR, and its main job going forward is to facilitate Foxconn, mining and CAFOs on Walker's terms. A saint could stumble into leadership there and be unable to right the ship. jr

Anonymous said...

Scott Pitta, you may know Kurt from his work with the Conservation Congress. I can tell you that he has supported Cathy Stepp to staff since becoming her right hand man a few years ago. I would not say he has served with excellence. He has been helping Stepp and Walker dismantle the DNR and is likely responsible for most decisions having to do with selling off state-owned property. Do not expect changes at the DNR for the better. Expect more of the same and continued degradation of our natural resources.