April 28, 2011

Tenure cut short: DEP Commissioner Darryl Brown resigns from LePage cabinet

By Rebekah Metzler rmetzler@mainetoday.com
MaineToday Media State House Writer

(Continued from page 1)

DePoy-Warren said officials in the AG’s Office were “interjecting themselves” into an issue that was not pending before them and “acting independently.”

Democratic lawmakers had asked for Schneider’s opinion, but Schneider declined while the EPA issue was pending.

Environmental attorneys who had criticized Schneider for not looking into the issue sooner praised his action Wednesday.

"We called on the Attorney General’s Office to do a thorough and objective examination of the facts and to apply the law to those facts, and I think one has to recognize that the attorney general has done that,” said Sean Mahoney of the Conservation Law Foundation of Maine.

Steve Hinchman, a lawyer for the Androscoggin River Alliance, said “it’s a shame that it went on so long and it’s a shame that they didn’t do the proper analysis in the beginning.”

House Minority Leader Emily Cain, D-Orono, said she has been happy with the work Brown has done, but is glad the issue has been resolved.
“It alleviates a lot of questions and concerns that have been raised about potential issues with Commissioner Brown; I think it’s the right decision,” she said. “My hope is, as the governor searches for a new commissioner of DEP, they’ll look for someone who could really engage with the full potential of the department and not come with conflict for past work.”

Jim Brooks, director of the DEP’s Bureau of Air Quality, will serve as acting DEP commissioner, according to the governor’s news release. Brooks, a longtime DEP employee, was acting commissioner before Brown’s appointment.

LePage also announced Wednesday that he would nominate Robert Winglass, a former Marine officer who served in the Maine House, as commissioner of the Department of Labor.

The governor said he has appointed David Emery, a former Republican congressman from Maine, as deputy commissioner for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services.

State House Writer Tom Bell and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:
rmetzler@mainetoday.com

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