Two days after Tropical Storm Irene’s remnants devastated much of Vermont, with bodies still missing and residents stranded in their homes, two Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department game wardens were given a special assignment: to rescue houseplants belonging to Secretary of Natural Resources Deb Markowitz.
The wardens allegedly trucked half a dozen plants — "including two small trees, one of which was a dracaena majoris from Markowitz's childhood" — from the Waterbury state office complex 14 miles to the secretary's Montpelier home.
Gram reports there's some disagreement over whether Markowitz herself issued the dracaena-saving order or whether she just, um, hinted strongly enough to prompt Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry to do the deed.
Asked for comment on the AP story, a spokeswoman for Gov. Peter Shumlin said Monday the governor first learned of the potted plant incident last week as Gram reported the story.
The spokeswoman, Sue Allen, said in a written statement that Shumlin "recognizes that post-Irene was a chaotic time, including for state workers flooded out of" the Waterbury office complex.
"That said, this was an error in judgment and a bad use of warden's [sic] time, and that has been communicated to the Secretary and Commissioner," Allen said. "The governor feels strongly that Deb Markowitz and Patrick Berry are the best advocates for Vermont's natural and wildlife environments."