Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NJDEP Commissioner Martin shuffles his deck

Bob Martin, the former business executive who is determined
to make the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection more business friendly (or, at least, less business-hostile), has reorganized the department. 

He’s consolidated in some areas, created a few new offices to streamline permit reviews, and shuffled senior staffing positions.

He says it’s all in keeping with his vision of a DEP that “balances rigorous environmental protection with the need to play our part in restoring the broken economy of our state.''

Among the changes are his creation of an Office of Green Energy Development, an Office of Economic Growth Coordination  and an Office of  One Stop Permitting.

Martin is also moving the Division of Water Quality, the state Geological Survey, the Watershed Standard Setting; Water Supply, Water Monitoring and Standards to a new Water Resource Management Program. He also plans to consolidate the Office of Planning and Sustainable Communities with Land Use Management.

"We need to play a key in the economic growth of the state,'' Martin said in a memo announcing the reorganization.  "We must make permitting and inspection of individuals, businesses, governmental bodies and other organizations both timely and predictable, basing decisions on science, data, facts and a cost/benefit analysis.

The Sierra Club does not approve

One perpetual environmental critic, Jeff  Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club sees nothing good in the changes.  He
asserts that the new offices will “act as lobbyist for polluters and developers.” 

What really gets under Tittel’s skin is Martin’s insistence that his staff  treat “all entities coming to the DEP for permits.. like customers.”

That, Tittel claims, is proof that Martin’s DEP  “works for the polluters not the public."

OK, we get it.  All permit applicants are polluters. Shoot first and ask questions later.

New Deputy Commissioner

Elevated to the number two spot in the department under the reorganization is Irene Kropp, a 28-year DEP employee who, as  assistant commissioner for Site Remediation, has been DEP’s point person for the new Licensed Site Remediation Professional program. 

Martin’s new Chief of Staff is Magdalena Padilla, an attorney and former director of business and economic policies for the state Commerce and Economic Growth Commission.  She will replace the widely respected Gary Sondermeyer who is retiring effective July 1 after 30 years of service at DEP.

The balance of Martin’s leadership team

Ray Cantor
, a lawyer with 20 years of experience in state government, is Martin's chief counsel. Cantor previously served as Senior Counsel/Committee Aide to the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services in the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resource Section.

Amy Cradic
will remain as an assistant commissioner and head the new Office of Ecological Restoration.

Marilyn Lennon
becomes Assistant Commissioner of Land Use Management. Lennon previously was Vice President of Environmental Engineering and Operations for KeySpan Corp.; Senior Vice President with PS&S, a NJ-based environmental and engineering consulting firm; and most recently Director of Strategic Policy and Planning for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

Nancy Wittenberg
, formerly the DEP's director of Environmental quality and the Office of energy, is the new assistant commissioner for Environmental Regulation. In that position, she will lead Air Quality, Environmental Safety and Health and Solid and Hazardous Waste Programs and will manage the Office of Climate Change and Energy.

John Plonski, who served as CEO of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources from 1995 to 2004, is the new assistant commissioner for Water Resources Management.

Wolf Skacel
, will continue as assistant commissioner of Compliance & Enforcement.

Cathy Tormey
will continue as deputy counselor to Martin.

Dave Glass
, former head of Republican Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande's staff, and most recently Director of Community Relations for Rep. Leonard Lance in the 7th Congressional District, is the new deputy chief of staff and legislative liaison.

Larry Ragonese
, a former assistant chief of The Star-Ledger's Morris County bureau, is the new communications director.

Richard Boornazian
, who has 28 years of experience in real estate, finance and information technology, is the new Green Acres Program administrator.  He is former Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. and Vice President of Industry Relations for FIRETRAP Communications, Inc.

Scott Brubaker
is the new director of the One-Stop Office.  Previously, he was Chief of the Bureau of Inspections and Investigations of Division of Solid Waste Management and Chief of the Bureau of Coastal and Land Use Compliance and Enforcement. Most recently has been Acting Assistant Commissioner for Land Use Management.

Cindy Randazzo
, who has 28 years of experience in business and finance, is the new director of the Office of Local Government Assistance.

Benjamin Witherell
, formerly with the Delaware River Basin Commission, is the new director of Economic Analysis. Most recently he was a Catherine McMullen-Blake Fellow at Montclair State University where he conducted research on socio-economic drivers of land use change and resulting impact on watershed characteristics.

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