Reaction to Skvarla switch speaks volumes

John Skvarla

John Skvarla

Sharon Decker

Sharon Decker

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory announced a major change in his cabinet today. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker is out and Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources John Skvarla will take her place. No word yet on who will head DENR after Skvarla.

Though it’s hardly unprecedented for a Governor to, in effect, transfer secretaries from one agency to another, in a normal/sane world this particular switch would raise eyebrows. After all, it’s one thing to be the state’s top environmental protection chief and it’s quite another to be it’s top business schmoozer.

Or at least it ought to be.

Unfortunately, under the present regime in Raleigh, such an idea is perfectly logical and consistent. That’s one of the main reasons that today’s announcement produced a unanimous yawn from state political observers: No one ever had any illusion that Skvarla was doing anything other than serving the state’s big business community at DENR. By all appearances, the new gig will simply allow him to do essentially the same thing he’s been doing  — just with a different title.



  1. LayintheSmakDown

    December 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    It is greeted with a yawn because it is not unheard of to switch a highly effective manager around to take expertise elsewhere. Now if he had been fired, you might have a story.

  2. ncsense

    December 4, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    I would be interested in knowing what you think makes Skvarla a “highly effective manager”. Can’t be employee morale. It isn’t clear that Skvarla delivered on his own priorities — he put a lot of stress on speeding permit decisions, but has anyone seen stats on permitting since Skvarla was Secretary? On the other hand, civil penalties are down by about 75% and I would be interested in any documentation that serious violations are down by that percentage. Also, a number of the high profile decisions DENR made in Skvarla’s first year on the job had to be walked back. One example was the decision to just waive the state’s right to review the proposed Cleveland Co. reservoir project for water quality impacts. DENR issued a waiver and then took it back. So where do you see evidence of being a good manager?

  3. Alan

    December 4, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Yet again, the paid spokesperson for Civitas and/or JLF is 1st to post a response, reflexively supporting anything the Grand Wizard and his team say or do. Oh, Papa Smurf must be so proud of you!

    Don’t you have ANY clue just how obvious it is who you work for?

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