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April 15, 2024

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announces new leadership appointments

On April 12, 2024 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced three key appointments to leadership positions at the agency.

"I am pleased to announce key promotions to DEC’s leadership team to ensure the continued success of New York's environmental protection policies, programs, and operations across the state," Commissioner Seggos said. "Patrick Foster and Carey Merrill contribute a wealth of experience and knowledge to DEC during an agency-wide effort to modernize systems and upgrade technology to meet the evolving needs of our work safeguarding New York’s air, land, and water. The promotion of Bernette Schilling to a new leadership position will strengthen DEC’s important work in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier. I remain confident that these experts will enhance DEC’s ongoing efforts to advance the agency mission to protect the people and natural environment of New York State.”

Patrick Foster was appointed to serve as DEC’s new Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Remediation and Materials Management. Foster will oversee the Divisions of Materials Management, Environmental Remediation, and Mineral Resources, as well as the Office of Sustainability. He started at DEC in 2013 as an Assistant Regional Attorney in Region 9 (Western New York) before transferring to Central Office where he helped establish the Natural Resource Damages section in the Office of General Counsel. Foster also served as DEC Region 2 (New York City) Regional Attorney, and most recently as Region 2 Regional Director since 2021. He is also an adjunct professor of environmental and administrative law at the City University of New York School of Law.

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Carey Merrill was appointed as DEC’s first Deputy Commissioner for Risk and Innovation. Merrill will lead the Office of Compliance, Risk, Innovation, and Strategic Planning to advance DEC’s information technology modernization efforts, realize the agency’s strategic objectives, facilitate enterprise risk reduction and agency compliance, and support transparency of data and business practices. Most recently, Merrill served as DEC’s Special Counsel to identify, manage, and mitigate risks, and improve risk awareness throughout the agency. Her additional experience includes serving as Special Counsel to the Chief Information Officer for Ethics, Risk and Compliance in the New York State Office of Information Technology Services, and Counsel to Professional Risk, Cyber and Surety underwriters at ACE North America. Merrill was previously a Major in the United States Air Force; she served as a Judge Advocate specializing in environmental law, labor and employment relations, and military justice.

Woman smiles for photo in front of DEC logo

 

Bernette Schilling was named Assistant Regional Director for Region 8, which includes Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Yates counties. Schilling has more than 30 years of experience with DEC, starting as an Environmental Monitor on the Kodak project team and including work in the Division of Air Resources. She later managed the region’s Hazardous Waste Remediation group and most recently served as Regional Engineer. Schilling represents management on DEC’s Regional Health and Safety Committee, is an active member of the Regional Sustainability Committee, participated in the agency’s Strategic Planning process, helped establish DEC’s Women’s Initiative, and was part of a multidisciplinary team awarded DEC’s Peter A.A. Berle Memorial Award for their work on the Kodak bankruptcy proceedings and transition of Eastman Business Park.

Woman smiles for photo in front of small body of water

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