DEP Staff Changes Not Unusual After Administration Shift, Lawyers Say

March 15, 2012 – In The News
The Legal Intelligencer
The pair of recent resignations within the Pennsylvania state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has prompted some attorneys and industry watchers to be alarmed. Longtime regional counsel Diana Stares resigned from the agency’s Southwestern Pennsylvania office in July and shortly thereafter her successor, William Darr, submitted his resignation in November.

M. Joel Bolstein, a partner in the Warrington office and former deputy secretary for special projects at the DEP, recently spoke to The Legal Intelligencer about the resignations. According to Bolstein, the personnel changes are par for the course and that staff shakeups in the DEP are common when a new gubernatorial administration takes office.

Bolstein reflected on his time when he entered the agency under then-Governor Tom Ridge and former DEP secretary James Seif.

“When we came in, we changed everybody,” Bolstein said. “The chief counsel was new, the deputy secretaries were new and we replaced a couple of regional directors.” He added, “It’s kind of the secretary’s prerogative to have management in place that they think can implement their agenda. To the extent that the secretary wants to make changes and thinks it’s going to help, I don’t see how there would be anything wrong with that, especially in managerial positions.”