Home > Uncategorized > Another Friday Afternoon Shakeup in DEP Management

Another Friday Afternoon Shakeup in DEP Management

Chair of Roma Bank Board Named Assistant Commissioner for Water

meet your new Banker, in charge of protecting NJ's water resources at DEP

meet your new Banker, in charge of protecting NJ’s water resources at DEP

[Update 2/13/12 – Siekerka gets hammered in this Trenton Times story

Update: 2/12/12 – an absolutely kick ass Star Ledger editorial today highlights the points we’ve repeatedly made here countless times about Gov. Christie’s State Plan, Red Tape initiative, and DEP regulatory assaults.

And the fact that they put “red tape” in quotes shows they agree with our assessment that the term is an empty demagogic slogan:¬†Gov. Chris Christie’s war on “red tape” puts NJ environment at risk”

We’d also note that Siekerka was the DEP point person for rolling back DEP regulations to conform to the Christie economic development plan. end updates]

DEP Commissioner Bob Martin announced another Friday afternoon shakeup in his management team.

Gone is John Plonski as Assistant Commissioner for Water Resources Management. Plonski, a former Pennsylvania regulator, was the only experienced professional regulator that Bob Martin recruited to the DEP Management team.

Plonski will be replaced by Michele Siekerka, former head of Martin’s new economic growth promotion office, with the Orwellian name Economic Growth and Green Energy (EGGE).

Siekerka is also Chairman of the Board of Roma Bank – the first time I ever recall a banker and DEP Manager holding two positions at the same time!

Siekerka’s promotion to a regulatory role raises potential serious conflicts of interest with her Roma Bank clients. Let’s hope there already is a detailed recusal statement filed with DEP Ethics Officer Cathy Tormey

Prior to the Bank job, Siekerka served as Chief Executive Officer of the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce.

Banking and Chamber of Commerce advocacy are excellent qualification’s for Governor Christie’s DEP.

Christie and DEP Commissioner Martin have radically reoriented DEP’s mission to include promotion of economic development. (listen to her promote Christie’s economic growth plan replacement for the State Development and Redevelopment Plan).

Like Commisisoner Martin, Sierkerka has no environmental training or experience, instead only private sector business advocacy. Obviously, those qualifications conflict with a regulator’s job.

As head of the EGGE Office, Siekerka failed to even name a manger of the Office of Climate Change – that manager still vacant. But, while ignoring climate change, Siekerka does find time for “power breakfasts” with business groups to discuss regulatory rollback.

Replacing Siekerka at EGGE, which is renamed SAGE (Sustainability and Green Energy) is Bob Marshall from the Governor’s Office.

Marshall served as Assistant Counsel to Governor Christie for matters involving the environment, energy and agriculture. He served previously in the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety as Deputy Attorney General, where he handled DEP, Treasury, and Agriculture matters.

The Plonski Legacy on Water

John Plonski’s legacy is not something to be proud of.

His departure again raises the question of where the frack is the Water Supply Master Plan Update. Plonski failed to stand up to the “Red Tape” assault by Lt. Gov. Guadagno. He presided over the dissolution of the Division of Watershed management and also oversaw turmoil and the end of meetings of the Drinking Water Quality Institute, including a freeze on numerous water standards. Plonski was caught in an embarrassing¬†lie about failure to regulate perchlorate, ignored radiological risk to NJ water supply and refused to regulated hundreds of chemicals in drinking water. He represented Governor Christie on the DRBC and caused controversy there promoting fracking (dubbed blackmail). He also managed the Christie failed Barnegat Bay plan, oversaw the surrender to Exelon on the Oyster Creek nuke plant cooling tower permit reversal, and led various media stunts, like the Barnegat Bay Blitz.

Actually, I can’t think of a single Plonski accomplishment!

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  1. scott olson
    February 10th, 2012 at 16:54 | #1

    Unless more (any???) among the Dems in the legislature wakes the hell up and starts screaming bloody murder, we are all so screwed. Even then, this may be too late.

    No time for a “Day Off.” Time for someone to start their 2013 campaign for Governor early. Buono? Buono?

  1. October 24th, 2012 at 11:01 | #1
  2. September 8th, 2014 at 19:12 | #2
  3. June 12th, 2015 at 18:24 | #3
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