Legislators Question Firing of DEC Commissioner, Scheudle Hearings
October 22nd, 2010
Legislators are up in arms that DEC commissioner Pete Grannis was fired by the Paterson Administration yesterday. Some are saying that would like to have legislative hearings into Grannis’ firing. ” I think it might be time for hearings,” said Assemblyman Jack McEneny. He said the way the firing took place–with top Paterson Aide Larry Schwartz demanding Grannis’ resignation and then firing him without allowing him to talk to Paterson–brings into question, “who exactly is running the state–Paterson or Schwartz.”
Schwartz was angry with Grannis because a DEC memo leaked describing how Paterson’s proposed cuts to the agency would prevent it from performing its mission. Grannis denied leaking the memo.† Grannis was officially fired for “poor performance and insubordination.” McEneny said he phoned Grannis to tell him “You are my hero!.”
Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney, chair of the Committee on Environmental Conservation,† issued a press release today titled: “The Mugging of Mother Nature.” The release noted that the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation will soon be scheduling its Annual Oversight Hearing of the Department of Environmental Conservation.
The release reads:
“The firing of Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis is one more in a long series of examples of the Paterson administrations open hostility to the environment. It is obvious that the performance of Commissioner Grannis was anything but poor. He performed his duty as New York’s environmental caretaker with diligence, clarity and fearlessness. Commissioner Grannis stood firm against proposals to cut the DEC to nearly the lowest levels in its history, and he paid for it. Today we honor his courage to stand up for our water, land and air and to be a staunch advocate for his agency.
Governor Paterson may think that by firing Pete he can silence criticism from those who care about our natural resources. We will not be silent at a time when the DEC is in danger of losing its ability to protect our environment. This administration fired him for speaking the truth — DEC can’t suffer any more staff losses and still protect the environment. We must not allow Governor Paterson to undo 40 years of environmental progress.
A functioning DEC is critical to the economic recovery of this state. Through permitting, licensing, and management of our resources, the DEC is essential to the success of a large range of industries from commercial and recreational fishing, to tourism. Qualify of life issues broadly affect health concerns and property taxes.
I applaud the Commissioner’s courage in telling the truth even when threatened and I condemn the Administration for believing that competence cannot be tolerated.”By David King on October 22, 2010, 3:43 pm
In category: Albany, Environment, Eye on Albany | 3 Comments »