Asheville-Citizen Times Feb. 11, 2009

Environmental officials named

By Staff Reporters

The Perdue administration's top environmental officials are in place.
Dee Freeman, whom Gov. Bev Perdue named as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, announced his department's top officials today.
Freeman promoted Manly Wilder to chief deputy and chief operating officer, responsible for budget and management. He replaces Bill Laxton, who will leave the department.
Replacing Wilder as assistant secretary for natural resources is David Knight, lobbyist for the Nature Conservancy.
Knight will supervise divisions and groups including Soil and Water Conservation, Forest Resources, Marine Fisheries, Parks and Recreation, the Ecosystem Enhancement Program and Natural Resources Planning and Conservation. A top environmental-protection regulator will remain in her job. Robin Smith is assistant secretary for the environment. General Counsel Mary Penny Thompson will keep her post while also becoming assistant secretary of information technology.