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Palinen weighs in on DNR-DEQ?divorce/Woods, water & worse

January 21, 2011
By Jim Junttila

This column may be populated by fictional characters and correspondents, but it's inspired by mostly true events.

One of them took top honors for the Michigan divorce of the year when our beloved MDNRE, with whom we were well pleased, was torn asunder by Governor-elect Rick Snyder, arbitrarily splitting up the DNR and DEQ because he could, ostensibly to save money, even after out-going Governor Jenny Granholm had hooked them up in 2009 as a well-intentioned cost-saving move.

"Getting married to save money, then getting divorced to save money doesn't make sense, common nor fiscal," author and WW&W political correspondent Sarah Palinen asserted authoritatively.

"It boggles the minds of fiscal conservatives everywhere," stated WW&W Finnish financial correspondent Jussi Raha.

"It was neither dramatic nor traumatic, but divorce is never a tea party," Palinen continued. "The kids are all grown, and as DNR and DEQ employees, they're tough enough to take it," she added nonchalantly, surprising the far right she usually appeals to by easing toward the center in a common sense, matter-of-conscience move and urging them to do the same.

"I used to be a far-right fundamentalist," she admitted, "but it's way too rigid; when my daughter had the opportunity to go on Dancing with the Stars, I had to dump them and their no-dancing nonsense like a hot potato; my daughter's happiness was more important than that, besides there's nothing wrong with dancing to begin with, is there?"

Governor-elect Snyder's theory is the split allows both departments to work more efficiently so it should save money over time.

"You can make the same claim about traditional marriage and same-sex marriage," said WW&W fundamentalist religion correspondent Penny Costal. "I'm a Republican, but if you ask me, their plan to reinvent Michigan is getting off to a dubious start with the DNR and DEQ getting divorced right off the bat," she frowned. "God doesn't approve of divorce and neither do I!" she scolded, righteously crossing her arms and putting her foot down.

Governor Snyder named former agriculture director Dan Wyant as DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) director, while Science & Policy office chief Rodney Stokes becomes Department of Natural Resources director. Former Agriculture Deputy Director Keith Creagh has come out of retirement to head the renamed Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

Former DNRE director Rebecca Humphries has flown the coop for Ducks Unlimited, who describes her as a "perfect fit" and "birds of a feather." Humphries was responsible for the combined departments, which included 2,850 employees and a budget of $700 million. Their fate remains uncertain and the new budget is up in the air and anybody's guess.

"Whether they're combined or separate departments, thank God they're a bureaucracy, not a theocracy," Palinen stated, again shocking her far-right constituents who are way more conservative than she is. "There's no moral obligation for them to hold a dysfunctional marriage together for the sake of the kids," she said, citing the 2,850 employees. "This is state government, there's no guilt, shame, undue pressure from the church or family values involved like in traditional marriage that forbids divorce."

"Who are we to say what's moral and right for somebody else?" asked WW&W senior religion correspondent Amazing Grace. "That issue has always been a moving target."

"At least it was a reasonably clean break," said close observer and WW&W capitol affairs correspondent Lance Sing, admitting it didn't seem like a very responsible, committed relationship when they get married and divorced all willy-nilly, not once, but twice. "What kinda parenting role model is that?"

"What Democratic Governor Jenny Granholm put together, Republican Governor Rick Snyder tore asunder," Palinen shrugged. "It ain't the first time and it probably won't be the last. They can't keep their hands off each other and will find a way to get back together, just you wait and see," she smiled Pollyannaishly. "Who in their right mind would get married, divorced, re-married, then re-divorced again to save money?" she asked pragmatically.

Jim has survived divorce before and can be reached 24/7/365 at while he's surviving this one.



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