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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14950) 13 years ago
I am wondering if someone (Gunnar maybe) could shed some light on why their are so many job vacancies at DEQ in Helena? I am sure that some of it is related to what they pay in relation to what industry is paying. But it sure seems like there is a lot of turn-over in that agency or new positions being created. Just curious.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17335) 13 years ago
The pay is one reason, especially since the extractive industries all are going full guns, and they pay way more than state government as you know.

To their credit, DEQ has taken significant measures in the past decade to make their pay comparable to the states that border Montana (e.g., ND, SD, ID, WY). In the years past, they were woefully lacking behind all of them. But, even what those state governments pay, is still lacking behind industry, consulting, and even the federal government pay scales.

A second issue, one that does not get much publicity, involves forced changes of jobs and even firings. As you know, Gov. Schweitzer is committed to expanding Montana's energy economy. Problem is, much of the old DEQ (even though they have been under Republican control for the last 20 years) have been rather "green" in their approach to implementing the MCA and ARM.

Although previous administrations have made some efforts to get permits and NEPA/MEPA analyses completed in a timely manner, the Schweitzer administration, under Directer Opper, has actually taken to relieving several employees of their responsibilities for basically not complying with the law and getting permits issued on time. I applaud their efforts....dealing with bureacracies is not an easy task.

Note that this is my opinion as an outsider, and may not actually reflect what is actually happening in state government. But, I have friends who work in state government, and this is what I hear.
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Posted by Ben Hughes (+21) 13 years ago
Pay is a big problem. The DEQ is mostly a training program for new graduates who work there from 6 months to 5 years and move on to higher paying jobs. The Oregon DEQ and Washington Department of Ecology hire DEQ employees frequently.

Marc "Asbesto" Racicot's DEQ is also top heavy in permitting (160 employees) and extremely weak in enforcement 6 employeees and NO criminal investigators. There is a perception that the DEQ to too pro-business rather than being a watch dog.
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Posted by Dave Roberts (+1501) 13 years ago
>As you know, Gov. Schweitzer is committed to expanding Montana's energy economy.

Wacky dyslexia parsed that as "..expanding Montana's energy sodomy." and kept right on going.
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