Welcome to the Pinelands Commission, Executive Director Grogan
Susan Grogan was appointed Executive Director of the Pinelands Commission.
By Heidi YehFebruary 27, 2023
We at the Pinelands Preservation Alliance want to express our support for the Commission’s decision to promote Susan Grogan to Executive Director. Our leaders have a long history of working with Grogan during her tenure at the Commission. We have great respect for her intelligence, her diligence, her unequaled knowledge of the Pinelands’ planning and land use regime, and her decision to dedicate her career to the Pinelands. We look forward to working with Susan and the entire team here to carry on this unique conservation mission.
Throughout the life of the Commission, the talents and commitments of the Executive Director have shaped the Commission’s course—for good or for ill. The centrality of this role is evident at every meeting where one can see the executive director seated prominently next to the Commission chair (Currently, Laura E. matos), as the team facilitates the meeting together. Members of the Pinelands Commission volunteer their time to adjudicate development applications in the Pinelands and to deliberate amendments to the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP). In order to make informed decisions, they are heavily reliant on Commission staff to perform the leg-work of bureaucratic operations and research. The Executive Director orchestrates this staff work and communicates the results with a final recommendation before each Commission vote. Some applications won’t even come to a vote if the staff determines that they raise no substantial issues with the CMP—the Executive Director has the power to sign off on these. The Executive Director has a great influence over the function of the Pinelands Commission: with the power to approve some applications, to manage staff priorities, and to control the flow of information to the Commissioners.
The Executive Director can also decide how the Commission interfaces with the public, impacting how ‘welcome’ one feels walking into a Commission meeting, or how easy it is to get information and documents from staff. Over the history of the Commission, this influence has manifested in many ways: ranging from an atmosphere of rigidity and reclusion, to one of openness and cooperation. We are heartened that Grogan has taken the latter approach, and hope that she will continue to do so as Executive Director. These aspects are particularly important to the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, because we have staff who attend every Commission meeting and are frequently working with Commission staff to procure information. For all of these reasons, filling the Commission’s top position is not a decision to be made lightly. We have high hopes and expectations for the Pinelands Commission under the leadership of its newest Executive Director, Susan Grogan.