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Environmental secretary responds to fiery retirement letter

John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resource, responded to a former water quality employee who sent him a "Dear John" email when she took early retirement.

To recap, Susan Wilson told Skvarla she couldn't work at DENR anymore, and attached at "Take this job and shove it" YouTube video to her email.

"Between your inappropriate mission statement, the dismantling of the Division of Water Quality, and HB74 (along with a few other gems from this session's NCGA), I see no reason to continue here - because my own mission - to assist all citizens and protect those that don't have a voice, would be compromised," she wrote in part.

In his reply, Skvarla said maybe it's a good thing she left.

Former DENR employee leaves her job with a blazing "Dear John" email

A long-time regulator at the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources left her job at the regional office in Asheville on Friday. Before she left, Susan Wilson wrote a "Dear John" letter to DENR secretary John Skvarla.

It was not a cheery good-bye note. Wilson does not agree with the state's new outlook on environmental regulation. She added a "take this job and shove it" YouTube link to her email.

A DENR spokesman said Skvarla will be responding.

Update: Wilson said in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon that she retired after about 24 1/2 years, "a little sooner than I wanted to."

She said she gave a lot of thought to what she wrote. "You don't do that lightly. I lit the fuse and burned the bridges."

Read the email, obtained as the result of a public information request, below.

DENR head John Skvarla riffs on fracking, agency layoffs, job creation

John Skvarla, North Carolina's top environmental regulator, said Monday he is overseeing 15 reorganizations simultaneously at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources in an effort to streamline the agency he has been running since January.

Skvarla said he doesn't know how many people will be laid off from the 4,000-employee agency, but noted that the purpose of the reorg is not to maximize body counts. Rather, Skvarla said, his goal is to make DENR more responsive in its dual mission of protecting the environment and growing the economy.

"Historically, the philosophy has been that corporate America is the enemy," Skvarla told a lunchtime crowd of several dozen at the conservative John Locke Foundation in Raleigh.

"We can't take people who are going to build the economy and treat them like the enemy," Skvarla said. "Everything we do in DENR has to involve some consideration of economics."

Morning Memo: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to attend Wake fundraiser

JAN BREWER TO ATTEND WAKE GOP FUNDRAISER: The Wake County Republican Party announced Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will attend a Sept. 14 fundraiser in Raleigh for the local party's fall candidates. The announcement email includes the now infamous photo of Brewer, a Republican, wagging her finger upon meeting President Barack Obama at an airport tarmac. The top ticket for the fundraiser is a $5,000 VIP package and a single ticket is $75. The party expects the event to sell out.

THE MUMMIES RETURN: From columnist Rob Christensen-- "We have seen this before in North Carolina – the reign of the green-eyeshaded men who thought low taxes trumped all, and if there were any coins left in the till at the end of the day they would throw it into the education pot.

"It was called the 1800s. And Walter Hines Page had a name for them. He called North Carolina’s leaders “the mummies” as in very old, well-wrapped, very dead Egyptians because of their complacent conservatism." Read his full column here.

***Get more North Carolina political news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Virginia leaders appeal to feds, McCrory to block landfill bill

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia is asking the federal government to examine a bill moving in the N.C. General Assembly that would allow a large landfill near the state border.

Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes, a Republican, recently made an appeal to Gov. Pat McCrory to stop the bill -- SB 328. The measure reverses restrictions lawmakers put in place in 2007 to prevent what critics call mega-dumps from being located in northeastern North Carolina.

Document(s):
FWS ltr to NCDENR on Landfill 6-19-13.pdf
Cong Forbes ltr to Gov McCrory on NC Landfill 7-9-13.pdf
Sen Kaine NC Landfill Ltrs 6-27-13.pdf

Gov. McCrory takes Tesla for an elecrifying spin around the block

Tesla's full-court-press campaign to kill a North Carolina bill that would ban the California company from selling its pricey electric cars here put Gov. Pat McCrory behind the wheel of the $100,000 super auto at lunchtime Monday.

Tesla lobbyists in recent weeks have met with more than a dozen lawmakers in a bid to block the legislation. They usually bring a Tesla Model S for special effect and a complementary test drive.

But putting McCrory in the cockpit of a Model S on Monday was an unplanned coup.

State's top clean water regulator retires

Chuck Waklid will retire as director of the state Division of Water Quality, DENR secretary John Skvarla announced Friday.

Waklid worked for the the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for more than two decades, serving as deputy director of the air, water and groundwater programs; as regional supervisor, and as chief of the water quality section. After serving in the private sector, Waklid returned to DENRin 2006 and became director of water quality in January 2012.

“Chuck's vast knowledge of water quality engineering and regulations has served DENR and the state well,” Skvarla said in a statement. “I know that many inside and outside DENR will mis his expertise and direction.''

Tom Reeder, director of the state Division of Water Resources, will serving as acting director of the state Division of Water Quality.

Personnel file: Former Rep. Gillespie takes on new roles

Former state Rep. Mitch Gillespie is taking on two new roles in the McCrory administration. The governor appointed the Marion Republican to the Southern States Energy Board and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. He is currently the assistant secretary at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Other recent appointments from Gov. Pat McCrory:

--George Howard, the former business partner with DENR Secretary John Skvarla, was named to the Interstate Mining Commission. Howard is the co-founder and CEO of Raleigh-based Restoration Systems, an environmental mitigation company. He is also on the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission.

DENR human resources director named

DENR Secretary John Skvarla has turned to a veteran state government employee to be his human resources director.

He has names Anne G. Lasley to head the division of human resources division at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Lasley has worked for state government for 24 years, directing human resources programs for the Division of Services for the Deaf and the Employment Security Commission. She served as a member of Gov. Pat McCrory's Human Resources transition team.

Skvarla names DENR team

John Skvarla continues to put together his team at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

He has named Joe Harwood, who ran his own Mecklenburg County-based consulting firm to lead the department's customer service branch as the agency's ombudsman. Like Gov. Pat McCrory, Harwood had previously worked for Duke Energy in the environmental, regulatory, legislative and customer affairs area.

During the campaign, McCrory had specifically mentioned DENR as a state agency that he thought was not business friendly. Skvarla created the post of ombudsman.

Skvarla also went to another power company veteran when he named Drew Elliot as his communications director. Elliott worked as spokesman for Progress Energy and before that was a legislative assistant for Republican Sen. Richard Burr. Most recently he worked at South University in Georgia as assistant to the chancellor for communications.

Also named was Carr McLamb, a Raleigh attorney, as DENR's deputy director of legislative affairs. He previously worked for the firm of Jordan Price Wall Gray Jones & Carlton.

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