Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley resigned his post effective immediately Friday, after a brief meeting with Gov. Tom Wolf.
The move rids the Wolf administration of a secretary with a passion for green causes, but whose style had managed to ruffle so many feathers, a source close to the administration said, that it was no longer clear he was helping.
“This guy had soured so many relationships with so many people, it had become impossible for him to do his job,” the source, who commented on the condition of anonymity, said of this week’s deliberations.
Wolf named Patrick McDonnell as acting secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, effective immediately. McDonnell had been serving as policy director for the department.
The last issue to bedevil Quigley was a flap that erupted this month over a fiery email Quigley allegedly sent after several Senate Democrats broke with the administration on a greenhouse gas emissions bill.
Some of the senators in question were quickly targeted in issue ads by environmental advocacy groups, and they demanded answers from Wolf’s office as to whether Quigley was responsible.
Sources familiar with Quigley’s email told PennLive the secretary was not guilty of calling for attacks against fellow Democrats.
But that issue did, other sources said, provide the governor with a checkpoint to evaluate whether Quigley had become a liability.
Wolf was curt but charitable in announcing the change, saying “I thank John Quigley for his service to the Commonwealth, and I look forward to working with Patrick McDonnell while he serves as acting secretary.”