Wolf’s Policy Director, John Hanger, Resigns

He says he's leaving the administration to spend more time with his wife and daughter.

Former Pennsylvania environmental protection secretary John Hanger during a gubernatorial candidates forum Tuesday Feb. 4, 2014 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

John Hanger, Gov. Wolf’s secretary of policy and planning. | AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma

Governor Tom Wolf’s secretary of policy and planning, John Hanger, is leaving the administration.

In a statement, Hanger explained that he wants to spend more time with his wife and daughter, who live in Worcester, Mass. His last day will be February 26th. Hanger’s wife is vice provost for faculty affairs at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Hanger informed the governor and his chief-of-staff Mary Isenhour of his decision approximately two weeks ago, according to Wolf spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan. His exit from Wolf’s administration comes after months of battling over the budget.

John Micek of Pennlive.com asks if that’s no coincidence. “Some Capitol watchers wondered whether Hanger hadn’t been shown the exits in the wake of revelations last week that he was behind efforts to try strong-arm Penn State and other state-related universities into supporting the tax increases that underpin Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2016-17 state budget,” Micek wrote.

However, Hanger is pointing to family obligations as his only motivation for leaving.

“It has been an honor to serve an extraordinary governor and his administration who work tirelessly to make better Pennsylvania,” Hanger said. “It is difficult to leave, but I cannot be in two places at once. Commuting regularly to and from Massachusetts and doing my demanding job has become impossible. At this point, it is important to place first my wife of 36 years and my remarkable daughter who have supported me in my work.”

The announcement of Hanger’s departure came only after position changes within the administration were set. Deputy Secretary of Policy and Planning Sarah Galbally will take over Hanger’s position.

Galbally, a graduate of Penn and Villanova University, joined Wolf’s administration in January of 2015. She previously worked for the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority and was a mayoral intern for the City of Philadelphia. 

“Sarah has been a key adviser for more than two-and-a-half years,” Wolf said in a statement. “She has served ably as John’s deputy, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in her new role.”

Micek also sees Hanger’s exit from the administration as a rallying point for Republicans, but it remains to be seen what effects his resignation will bring.

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