Administrative Watch: DEQ Getting a Makeover

Administrative Watch: DEQ Getting a Makeover

Leadership roles in North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are now being filled by people who actually believe in protecting our environment.

The highest-profile departure this far beneath the Secretary level in DEQ was the retirement of former Assistant Secretary for the Environment Tom Reeder. After an extended career as a generally well-respected and technically well-versed regulator, Reeder became a top environmental official during the McCrory Administration. With his blunt speaking style and frequent assignment as DEQ’s public voice in controversial regulatory debates, he became closely identified with the McCrory deregulatory campaign.

Reeder’s replacement as Assistant Secretary for the Environment has been taken by Sheila Holman, promoted from Air Quality Division Director. Other important posts with new occupants include chief deputy secretary, general counsel, legislative affairs director, and deputy secretary for public affairs.

Noteworthily absent from this list of departing officials is the former DEQ Secretary himself, Donald van der Vaart. He used his authority as Secretary while McCrory was still governor to “burrow in” to a supposedly non-political position with state personnel protections. Word from Washington as of late last week is that van der Vaart is one of two finalists still under consideration for the number two spot in the Trump Administration’s EPA.

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