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State Government
Senior Managers Named At DEQ PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 07 February 2017 16:19
The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Secretary Michael S. Regan announced today several key appointments to his leadership team.  
Regan named retired Colonel John A. Nicholson as the agency’s chief deputy secretary. Nicholson served 28 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and was the military affairs advisor to two North Carolina governors. Nicholson has advanced energy efficiency and environmental conservation initiatives while in the military. Nicholson will work closely with Secretary Regan, overseeing various managerial duties including special projects related to the military. Nicholson succeeds John Evans.
Sheila Holman has been named DEQ’s assistant secretary for the Environment. A dedicated and talented career public servant, Holman has worked for nearly three decades in the federal and state air quality regulatory arenas. She’s spent the past six years leading the state Division of Air Quality. Holman will oversee development of major policy initiatives for programs with responsibilities such as permitting of discharges to surface waters; issuance of air emissions permits; implementation of grant programs for wastewater and permitting of coastal development; and regulation of animal operations. Holman replaces Tom Reeder. Mike Abraczinskas, who has worked much of his career as a public servant with DEQ, will serve as the acting director for the N.C. Division of Air Quality.
Regan also selected attorney William “Bill” F. Lane to serve as DEQ’s general counsel. For the past 20 years, Lane has worked for Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in Raleigh representing a variety of business and governmental clients on issues related to energy, air quality, waste management and water quality. Lane will be the first point of contact in litigation, acting as the service agent for all contested cases, tort claims and other lawsuits involving the department. He will supervise the rulemaking coordination process and provide advice on new policy initiatives, legislation, contracts, conflicts of interest and dispute resolution. Lane replaces attorney Sam Hayes.
Regan selected R. Anderson “Andy” Miller to be DEQ’s legislative affairs director. Miller has managed legislative functions for two N.C. House representatives. Miller will work with members of the General Assembly on environmental legislation and constituent issues, and coordinate DEQ’s periodic reports to the General Assembly. Miller replaces Mollie Young.
Jamie Kritzer has been named DEQ’s acting deputy secretary for Public Affairs. Kritzer has worked as a public information officer for the agency since 2003. Prior to joining DEQ, he was a newspaper reporter. Kritzer will oversee the agency’s internal and external communications. 
Regan thanked DEQ’s previous leadership team for their dedicated service to the state. 
Cooper Wants Deal On Confirmation Hearings PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 07 February 2017 10:29
Governor Roy Cooper has sent a letter to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger urging him to reconsider the scheduling of confirmation hearings in light of pending litigation concerning the new law known as HB17 that was passed in December. 
In the letter, Governor Cooper stresses his desire to come to an amicable consensus over scheduling hearings to avoid legal confrontation. Cooper also highlights the high priority items - repealing HB2 and raising teacher pay - that may be displaced and delayed if an extended confirmation process were to take place. 
The text of the governor's letter follows.
February 6, 2017
The Hon. Phil Berger
President Pro Tempore
N.C. Senate
16 W. Jones Street
Raleigh, N.C. 27601
Dear Senator Berger:
The Cabinet secretaries I have appointed look forward to a close working relationship with you and the members of the Legislature. They have been visiting your members and we look forward to them appearing before other committees, visiting your caucuses, providing information and answering questions and communicating in other ways with you.
House Bill 17 (N.C.G.S. Section 143 B-9) passed in December after my election directs me, as Governor, to submit the names of cabinet secretaries for senatorial advice and consent. This law is unprecedented as far as we know and has been challenged as unconstitutional in a lawsuit filed in Wake County.
Despite the pending lawsuit and despite my request for delay until the lawsuit is decided, the Senate has scheduled my appointees to appear for confirmation hearings beginning this Wednesday, February 8th. These hearings are premature for two reasons. First, the lawsuit provides clear case law from the Supreme Court that advice and consent applies only to Constitutional officers and not statutory cabinet secretaries. Second, North Carolina law says I am not required to submit names of persons to be confirmed to the President of the Senate until May 15, 2017 (see N.C.G.S Section 147-12(3d) and I have not done so. 
I would prefer to work this scheduling issue out amicably rather than resorting to the courts. To that end, I asked my legal team to try to expedite the court proceedings so that a final decision on the merits of our claims could be achieved in time for me to meet the May 15th deadline, if necessary. 
Consistent with that, I understand that my lawyers and those representing you and Speaker Moore have proposed to the court a schedule which would provide for a hearing and decision by the panel in early March of this year. The opportunity still exists to avoid needless confrontation and court proceedings over a scheduling issue. But with hearings set to begin on Wednesday, that window is rapidly closing.
Instead of going through all of these confirmation hearings which we believe will become moot, why don’t we instead concentrate on continuing the excellent work your leadership and I are already doing on job recruitment? We also must find a solution on HB 2 and have more detailed discussions about teacher pay and Medicaid, among many other issues. Our time and energy would be better spent on these challenges.
I know we disagree on the constitutionality of this law, but I hope we can resolve this issue concerning the delay of hearings in a manner that reflects a spirit of respect for the offices we both hold and the people of the state we both serve.
With kind regards, I am
Very truly yours,              
Roy Cooper
cc:        Senator Bill Rabon
             Senator Dan Blue
             Senator Tommy Tucker     
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 February 2017 10:35
Highway Patrol Veteran Named Commander PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 03 February 2017 11:19
Governor Roy Cooper has appointed Glenn M. McNeill as the next Commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
Serving with Colonel McNeill as Deputy Commander will be Lt. Colonel Vic Ward, who recently served as Acting Commander beginning January 9.
“The brave men and women of the Highway Patrol work tirelessly to protect North Carolina and I’m thankful for their service,” Governor Cooper said. “I look forward to working with Commander McNeill and Deputy Commander Ward to keep our state safe.”
“These men have dedicated their careers to serving the state with professionalism, high moral character and integrity. They both have a broad range of experience in the Highway Patrol and have garnered well deserved respect of their fellow troopers and other law enforcement,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks. “I have every confidence that they will continue to build on the traditions and high standards that make the Patrol North Carolina’s finest uniformed law enforcement agency.”   
Colonel McNeill is a native of Reidsville and a graduate of Mount Olive College with a degree in Business Management and Organizational Development. He graduated from the FBI National Academy 2015 and was honored as a distinguished graduate.
McNeill has served with the State Highway Patrol since 1994, starting as a trooper in Durham and later served with the Special Operations Section and as a Troop Commander. He most recently served as Director of Training for the Patrol since 2014.
A native of Whiteville, Lt. Colonel Ward graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in criminal justice. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Justice Administration from Methodist University. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy. Ward has served with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol since 1990.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol includes more than 1,600 troopers who cover 78,000 miles of North Carolina roadways. Their primary mission is to reduce collisions and make the highways of North Carolina as safe as possible.
In addition to enforcing the state's traffic laws, state troopers also provide critical assistance during natural disasters such as hurricanes and snow storms, serve on public safety task forces, guide traffic during major events, re-route traffic around hazardous chemical spills, and stand ready to respond to threats against the state.
Cooper Names Communications And Intergovernmental Affairs Directors PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 03 February 2017 11:15
Governor Roy Cooper has named two new members to the Governor's office to work in communications and in government relations.
Cooper has hired Sadie Weiner as Communications Director to oversee the Governor’s press and communications office. Weiner previously served as Communications Director for U.S. Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina, and most recently worked as Communications Director for the DSCC.
Cooper also named Jordan Whichard Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Whichard, a UNC Chapel Hill graduate, previously worked in the White House on intergovernmental relations, scheduling and advance. Most recently, he worked in human resources and benefits at Hill, Chesson & Woody.
"We are continuing to build a strong team and their work will help us move North Carolina in the right direction," said Cooper. "Good communications and outreach with state and federal partners will be particularly important as North Carolina rebuilds from last year’s hurricane and wildfires and as we work towards some of our top priorities including raising teacher pay."
As Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Whichard will work with county, state, and federal government entities. Weiner will direct daily communications and provide information to the media and the public.

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