Friday, February 19, 2016

John Hanger resigning as PA Gov. Wolf's top policy adviser

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's office announced this morning that his secretary of policy and planning, John Hanger, is leaving the administration.
John Hanger
Karen Langley reports in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Mr. Hanger said in a statement that it had become impossible to both do his job and commute regularly to Massachusetts, where his wife and daughter live.
The governor's office said that Sarah Galbally, who has been deputy secretary for policy and planning, will take Mr. Hanger's job.
Mr. Hanger, a former secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, ran against Mr. Wolf for the Democratic nomination for governor but dropped out before the primary.
He joined the administration and became an advocate for Mr. Wolf's agenda, encouraging the Penn State University board by email last week to lobby for the governor's proposed tax increases.
"John’s service to my administration has been invaluable, and it is difficult to see John leave his current position," Mr. Wolf said in a statement. "I have known John for many years and I am glad that John will continue to provide me the benefit of his counsel and expertise in the years ahead.”
Sarah Galbally
The governor said that Ms. Galbally has been a key adviser for more than two-and-a-half years, and that she has served ably as Mr. Hanger's deputy.
“It has been an honor to serve an extraordinary governor and his administration who work tirelessly to make better Pennsylvania," Mr. Hanger said in a statement. "It is difficult to leave, but I cannot be in two places at once.”
Mr. Wolf also said that Will Danowski, until now the acting secretary of legislative affairs, will serve in that role permanently. 
Patriot-News columnist John L. Micek writes today:
Hanger's departure, which comes more than eight months after the resignation of ex-Chief of Staff Katie McGinty, spells the official end of Wolf's "Team of Rivals" era.
Both Hanger and McGinty challenged Wolf for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2014. And both were viewed as far more ideological than Wolf, who had run as an outsider vowing to change the tone in Harrisburg.
But for much of Wolf's first year in office that new tone sounded an awful lot like the old one. McGinty, for instance, was seen as the force behind controversial firing of Office of Open Records boss Erik Arneson. 
Hanger was a forceful advocate of a severance tax on natural gas drillers, arguing it was long past due, since the Republican Corbett administration was widely seen as "in bed with the Marcellus Shale industry."
So with the two gone, it's tempting to ask whether that new tone Wolf pledged to set back in those faraway days of January 2015 might now finally get its day.

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