Did Cooper Appointee Suspend McCrory-Era NCDEQ Leader For Political Revenge?

RALEIGH – It’s no secret that a lot of jousting goes on behind the scenes when it comes to staffing state agencies with those that play for the same political team after party in power transitions. Same goes for getting rid of holdovers from the previous administrations. Both sides do it and the patronage system is well established.

Sometimes, though, the political management of human resources in state government reaches a level unbecoming of those who claim to be working on behalf of all North Carolinians, but instead appear to be seeking political revenge.

This appears to be the case with former Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Donald van der Vaart according to reports regarding his recent suspension from a career position.

Van der Vaart served as DEQ Secretary under Republican Governor Pat McCrory. He was named to the position after working as a career scientist with the department.

After McCrory lost re-election, van der Vaart went back to the career position he held prior to his promotion to secretary.


In his letter, the former DEQ secretary speculated his placement on administrative leave was because of research that the current DEQ secretary disagreed with.

“So after publishing some thirty articles following the same procedures, including providing a disclaimer on the manuscript, this administration is moving to stifle my contributions to scientific and legal discourse in professional journals.

This is deeply troubling,” van der Vaart wrote in his letter.

In an interview with WBTV, van der Vaart said DEQ officials offered little reason for the suspension.

“They came back with that they didn’t appreciate the article that I co-authored and that I was nominated to a federal committee,” he said. “That’s kind of surprising because I’ve been writing those kinds of articles for years and I’ve been on a committee in years past.”

Van der Vaart said he is worried about what impact his suspension may have on other career employees and their ability and willingness to conduct scientific research.

“I’m afraid it’s probably a little more about politics but it’s still sad nonetheless,” van der Vaart said of his suspension.””

Cooper appointees playing politics is not surprising. To that end, politicians playing politics is not at all surprising, though sometimes disheartening when it has the effect of stifling dissent on scientific issues.

That is how the Left operates, especially when it comes to environmentalists penchant for snuffing out anyone whjo dares to contradict the narratives like ‘climate change’ that serve to give Big Government more power over nearly every aspect of our lives.

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