One of three finalists will be named WDFW’s new director next weekend.
The trio will undergo one last round of executive-session interviews with the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission this coming Thursday, with members expected to make their final decision after 11 a.m., Saturday, June 16.
The announcement will be made in Olympia during open public session.
There are rumors about who threw their hat in the ring for the position, and who is still standing, and it will be interesting to see who is ultimately chosen. The Chinook Observer reports that commission staff “refused” to reveal the finalists’ identities.
The search for a new director was sparked in midwinter when Jim Unsworth announced that, after three years in the hot seat, he was leaving.
Nineteen people initially applied for the position, a field that was winnowed to seven by a subcommittee of the commission in mid-April, and then three in recent weeks.
The job listing WDFW posted said that whomever the next director might be, they would lead the agency through a “transformative” period as budget pressures increase, requiring “clear vision, true leadership, and firm decisions” on their part.
“The Director will be asked to develop effective new approaches to conserving and recovering fisheries resources, while resolving long-standing and increasing conflicts among competing stakeholders,” read just one part of a 10-point list of challenges in the help wanted ad.
Whomever is chosen will oversee a staff of 1,800, land base of 1,400 square miles and harness a $437 million two-year budget to hold and conserve fisheries and hunting opportunities and provide scientific rationale for what it’s doing.
WDFW has never had a female director.
Joe Stohr, a top deputy in various positions at WDFW since coming to the agency in 2007, has been holding down the fort during the search process.