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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.

Ms. Wilson:

If you truly believe that distrusting our fellow citizens made you a good regulator, I think it quite appropriate we part ways.

I find that most people want to do the right thing if given the time and resources to do so. That goes for the regulated community and our employees. When I started at DENR I wondered how hard building a culture of customer service would be. The more I met our employees and learned about their expertise and passion for their work, the more I realized that most want to be helpful but weren't being recognized, rewarded, or in many instances allowed to be consumer centric.

We have made great progress in a short amount of time because the vast majority of DENR employees have embraced the customer service attitude that is crucial to our success. We have seen the signs of progress by the many comments from customers and from your former co-workers taking the time to show interest in what customers are doing and respecting their experience and expertise. Rest assured that treating our customers with respect - respecting their time, their passions, the resources that have put into their projects - is no smokescreen. It is the grease that turns the twin gears of protecting the environment and growing the economy. It is the right way to run any organization and the right way to live one's life.

But this philosophy and approach is not for everyone. I wish you luck in your retirement - or you new endeavors.


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When the going gets tough.....

Well, let’s see, what the problem is here. Things in her job started getting tough. From her letter she’s obviously a Democrat, as most government employees are. She’s probably still upset that her boys got run out of Raleigh and now things are starting to change. Those Moral Monday protests just really haven’t done any good, her job is still hard.

I know change is hard, honey, especially if you are part of the political party that has been the ruling power for over 100-years and now you actually get to see how democracy works.

So, what does one do when the going gets tough? Gather the troops and try to fight back? No, she quits. But before she quits, she sensd a nasty-grahm about why she hates her job. Brilliant! She just did exactly what they wanted her to do. Now she’s out of the picture, she’s now on the outside. She’s just a common citizen with the same power and voice as any other average Joe (Jo-Ann in this case) on the street. But at least she had a funny YouTube video. That makes all the difference!

If that is the level of intelligence and professionalism in DENR, then the department is better off without her.

The response letter was what it was supposed to be, a forward looking message with a positive attitude about the department as a whole. One never ever stoops the same level as the complainant. That would be unprofessional. You bid the quitter a fond farewell and make sure you show respect and praise to the people who are staying.

C.W. Gaskill, Jr.

Missing the point

Good job totally missing the point of Wilson's letter. She talked about playing it down the middle rather than tilting in the direction of either anti-development or pro-development interests. Nothing in her letter suggested hostility or suspicion toward permit applicants. (Although I can also say from having watched environmental permitting for many years that a small percentage of applicants have no particular interest in complying and treat DENR staff like dirt.) It would have been more useful for Skvarla to explain why he only considers the applicant to be a customer entitled to service. Given the decision to waive the state's water quality certification on the Cleveland County dam project, it seems clear that Skvarla doesn't think the citizens of this state who need clean water and healthy natural resources are customers.

Two Weeks?

It took Skvarla two weeks to come up with that response? What does he have an appointed 24 year old "communications director" working for him that we don't know about yet? Not only does he not even address the VAST MAJORITY of Wilson's concerns, he has to throw up another droning strawman statement about customer service. Are all republicans brain dead? or just the ones that work for McCrory?

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