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Another McCrory appointment called into question

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Bryan Gossage was appointed to lead water and land conservation efforts at DENR. Bryan Gossage was appointed to lead water and land conservation efforts at DENR.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

An environmental advocacy group is calling into question the appointment of the former deputy secretary of the North Carolina Department of Commerce to head an office within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The North Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club said Bryan Gossage, who was appointed to lead water and land conservation efforts at DENR, has no background in a related field. He was placed in the job after his previous position at the Commerce Department was eliminated.

"This appears to be political patronage just getting out of hand, and that's a real shame," said Dustin Chicurel-Bayard, spokesman for the Sierra Club. "There's a certain amount of political-appointed jobs that come with winning an election. This administration seems to be taking it a bit further."

Gossage will earn $78,000 per year as the director of the state's Office of Land and Water Stewardship. Gossage's office will oversee the Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

CWMTF was established in 1996 to provide grant assistance to conservation non-profits, local governments and state agencies for the protection of surface waters in North Carolina.

"We deserve the best qualified candidates for the job, not a political appointee," Chicurel-Bayard said.

The Sierra Club says Gossage was appointed to the position without the job ever being posted.

"We would have liked them to have announced the job, interviewed multiple candidates and decided the best person for that job," Chicurel-Bayard said.

Gossage was previously a chief deputy with the N.C. Department of Commerce, where he earned $117,000 a year. Prior to that, he served on the Apex Town Council, ran for the state House and owned a media firm.

His wife Chloe earns $110,000 as a policy director for Gov. Pat McCrory.

Gossage declined to comment for this story.

N.C. DENR issued a written statement explaining that Gossage's experience on the Apex Town Council qualified him for the job.

"[Gossage] provided oversight of town water management and conservation efforts during the region's worst-ever drought in 2007-2008," the statement read.

Gossage's predecessor was Richard Rodgers, who spent over 13 years at DENR working on a variety of environmental issues.

Sierra Club says it's going to keep a close watch on Gossage to see what kind of job he does as head of the Office of Land and Water Stewardship.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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