Delaware Public Media

Garvin confirmed to lead DNREC after tense special election season

Mar 15, 2017

After nearly two months of Republicans holding up his nomination in the state Senate, Sean Garvin will be Delaware’s next top environmental official.

He was approved by the senate Wednesday 14-5 with some GOP support.

Senate Republicans effectively blocked Garvin’s appointment before it came to a vote in January when the chamber was split 10-10 between each party.

Garvin wasn’t present during Wednesday’s vote. That again angered GOP lawmakers who wanted to question him further.

“I, unfortunately, can’t vote for him if he can’t come to this chamber – the people’s building, this floor – and answer some of these questions and others that other members may have,” said Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley).

Garvin was sworn in less than an hour later at Gov. John Carney’s  (D) office across the street.

In an op-ed, Lavelle said Republicans say Carney specifically asked them not to interrogate Garvin during that hearing to avoid holding up a slate of nominees.

Carney’s office denies those accusations.

Senate Pro Tem David McBride (D-Hawks Nest) said if GOP lawmakers wanted to question Garvin, they should’ve done it during the committee process.

“At that time, [it] was appropriate to ask those questions and for whatever reason they weren’t asked – I don’t need to have the answer why – and that’s the way our process works,” McBride said.

Carney has yet to nominate cabinet secretaries to run the Department of Labor and the Delaware Economic Development Office.

Patrice Gilliam-Johnson continues to oversee a review of DOL’s race relations practices, while Bernice Whaley is part of an effort to overhaul the office’s mission.