Conservation director’s qualifications? DENR says town council gig during drought is enough

A state environmental agency spokesman said a recent political appointment to head a water quality conservation program is qualified because he served on the Apex town council during a drought.

Bryan Gossage, who was hired Nov. 4 by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources listed as the executive director of the Clean Water Trust Management Fund, despite only have run small communications and public relations firms in the past.

On Tuesday evening, DENR spokesman Drew Elliot indicated in an email that Gossage’s environmental conservation experiences stems from serving on the Apex town council for eight years, including during a drought.

Bryan Gossage, right, with Gov. Pat McCrory. Source: Gossage's LinkedIn page.

Bryan Gossage, right, with Gov. Pat McCrory. Source: Gossage’s LinkedIn page.

“He provided oversight of town water management and conservation efforts, including conservation efforts during the drought of 2007-2008, the worst drought in the recorded history of the region,” Elliot wrote in an email to N.C. Policy Watch.

The state legislature, in the last budget, required that the executive director of the clean water management trust fund “shall have had training and experience in conservation, protection, and management of surface water resources.”

N.C. Policy Watch first reported on Gossage’s appointment Monday. He had initially been hired in May to be a deputy secretary in the N.C. Department of Commerce before the November move to DENR. Gossage’s wife, Chloe Gossage, also has a top position in Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration, serving as McCrory’s policy director at an $110,000 annual salary.

Bryan Gossage will make $78,000 in his position, which oversees the state program for protecting water quality. The program, which used to be an independent agency, has been greatly curtailed in recent years and has a $10.4 million budget, a tenth of what it was before the 2008 recession, according to a Tuesday Associated Press report about Gossage’s appointment.

The AP report indicated Gossage will be the director of the newly created newly created Office of Land and Water Stewardship, including the clean water trust management fund.

Gossage served on the Apex town council from 2003 to 2011 and also had an unsuccessful bid in 2008 as a Republican candidate to the state legislature.

Like many North Carolina communities, Apex’s town council makes decisions about policies for the town of 40,000 residents, but the day-to-day management falls to the town manager and not the elected council.

Apex’s water system is also co-owned and operated by the town of Cary, a neighboring community, and both communities draw its drinking water from Jordan Lake, which is considered “impaired” from pollution and had an extensive cleanup plan delayed this summer by McCrory and the state legislature.

8 Comments

  1. Cheryl

    November 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    If I hear one more time how McCory is cleaning up the corruption in Raleigh I’m gonna scream. This Admin. is nothing but corrupt. Its just plain dumb to keep hiring these unqualified persons to hold top offices on our Gov. with our taxpayer money. In 2014 and 2016 North Carolinians need to stand together to show these Repubs we can take our state back.

  2. Ann

    November 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    This reminds me of Sarah Palin thinking she was qualified to make foreign policy because she could see Russia out if her window.

  3. Joy

    November 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    It would be interesting to see what this couple paid for their positions… are the contributions to his political campaign for Governor open records?

  4. ncborn

    November 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    One more thing — by law, the Clean Water Management Trust Fund exists to protect water quality not water quantity. Serving on a town council during a drought would be laughable credentials for directing the Clean Water Management Trust Fund if the Fund had been created to conserve water. Since it was actually created to use land conservation and sewer system upgrades to protect water quality, Gossage isn’t even in the ballpark.

  5. Sarah Ovaska

    November 21, 2013 at 9:50 am

    @Joy — Campaign donation information is public information and a search of the database housed at the State Board of Elections show that neither Bryan nor Chloe Gossage donated to McCrory’s campaign.

  6. Ken Glick (EEI)

    November 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    The Clean Water Trust Management Fund I must be very important or it wouldn’t have had its budget cut by 90% in the past five years… nor would Gossage have been nominated to have this fund. Obviously McCrory doesn’t consider the CWTMF very important or he would nominate someone who was actually qualified to “…have had training and experience in conservation, protection, and management of surface water resources.”

  7. Tarheel Citizen

    November 22, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I think it’s interesting to see who contributed to Gossage’s failed 2008 House campaign: http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=99406
    I see the names Art Pope and Katherine Pope on this list and there are probably some others that are Pope in disguise. Bryan Gossage is just another Art Pope flunky puppet like McCrory. I think Gossage should start answering some questions from the media. He is a public servant after all.

  8. Tarheel Citizen

    November 22, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    I think it’s interesting to see who contributed to Gossage’s failed 2008 House campaign: http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=99406
    I see the names Art Pope and Katherine Pope on this list and there are probably some others that are Pope in disguise. Bryan Gossage is just another Art Pope flunky puppet like McCrory. I think Gossage should start answering some questions from the media. He is a public servant after all.