West Virginia Executive Spring 2017 - Page 59

comes into power, they have the right to build their own team. Consequently, in our agency of 811 people, I think there are 17 or 18 at-will employees, meaning they are not protected by civil service, and there is a purpose for that. The new governor is allowed to build his team, and his cabinet secretaries are allowed to build their teams. I exercised my preroga- tive to build my own team. I had some- body I wanted to have that job that I felt was eminently qualified, and he was on the job a couple of days after I made the change. I have been very satisfied with his performance. WVE: Tell us about asking the more than 800 DEP employees to submit at least one cost-saving idea in an effort to eliminate waste and what kind of feedback you received. AC: There were two things that were important when I put out that email to ask for ideas. The first was I wanted people to understand I am interested in what they have to say about their agency and about what goes on in their agency. The second thing I wanted to get across to them was that in a time when we have such a tough economic environment, every penny counts. A cost-saving idea might not be a big idea—it might not save $100 million or save the state—but every dime counts, just like managing your household budget. The email resulted in many ideas. For instance, some employees questioned that if we regulate the intake side of drinking water, should we be serving bottled water at the agency? Somebody said we shouldn’t, and we decided they were exactly right. So approximately $25,000 a year was saved. WVE: Given West Virginia’s dire budget situation, what role, if any, do you think the state’s coal, natural gas and chemical industries can play in resolving our financial deficit? AC: I think the proposed legislation that would scale the severance tax up and down based on pricing is very solid. I am a big fan of that adjustment so we as a state can benefit when the industry is benefitting. When you have more and you’re making more, you ought to be willing to give back more. I’m sure there are some who are opposed to it, but coal and natural gas are commodities, and the prices can fluctuate rapidly.  Industry Intelligence. Focused Legal Perspective. HIGH-YIELDING RESULTS. Whether it’s managing an environmental or regulatory matter, inspecting for pipeline safety, acquiring title and rights to land, or partnering to develop midstream assets, we help solve complex legal problems in ways that favorably impact your business and bring value to your bottom line. Meet our attorneys at babstcalland.com. CHARLESTON, WV I PITTSBURGH, PA I STATE COLLEGE, PA WASHINGTON, DC I CANTON, OH I SEWELL, NJ Babst_2017_Executive_PipelineAd_4.6x9.695.indd 1 WWW.WVEXECUTIVE.COM S P R I N G 2 017 3/3/17 57 11:09 AM