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Parrish's Fish & Game demotion under review; Hansen selected as new F&G regional boss

Dave Parrish, the former Magic Valley regional supervisor for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, has challenged his demotion earlier this year following a letter he wrote to the Times-News. Meanwhile, department officials have chosen a habitat manager from north Idaho as Parrish's permanent replacement.

Dave Parrish, the former Magic Valley regional supervisor for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, has challenged his demotion earlier this year following a letter he wrote to the Times-News.

Meanwhile, department officials have chosen a habitat manager from north Idaho as Parrish's permanent replacement.

Parrish was moved to a position in the agency's state office in August, one month after this newspaper printed a letter he wrote in response to an editorial endorsing the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm project. The decision came after at least one legislator contacted Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, concerned that Parrish had violated the governor's office's media policy.

Critics, including Parrish's predecessor, Carl Nellis, said the decision made it look like politicians interfered with an agency matter. Fish and Game officials have since defended their actions and said Otter and other lawmakers had nothing to do with the decision, of which the letter was only one factor.

Asked on Monday whether the department would have done anything different in hindsight, Deputy Director Virgil Moore said he couldn't comment because of pending actions related to the matter. Asked to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Dave Parrish, the former Magic Valley regional supervisor for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, has challenged his demotion earlier this year following a letter he wrote to the Times-News.

Meanwhile, department officials have chosen a habitat manager from north Idaho as Parrish's permanent replacement.

Parrish was moved to a position in the agency's state office in August, one month after this newspaper printed a letter he wrote in response to an editorial endorsing the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm project. The decision came after at least one legislator contacted Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, concerned that Parrish had violated the governor's office's media policy.

Critics, including Parrish's predecessor, Carl Nellis, said the decision made it look like politicians interfered with an agency matter. Fish and Game officials have since defended their actions and said Otter and other lawmakers had nothing to do with the decision, of which the letter was only one factor.

Asked on Monday whether the department would have done anything different in hindsight, Deputy Director Virgil Moore said he couldn't comment because of pending actions related to the matter. Asked to elaborate, he said the department is "in the final stages" of a standard administrative review, where a hearing officer from outside the department reviews decisions of the director.

"Because of that, I can't comment," he said, adding that the department hasn't changed how it goes about its business.

Parrish, who was in meetings Monday and could not be reached for comment, now works as resident fishery coordinator for the state. Fred Partridge, who previously held the fishery job, has served as interim supervisor during the search for Parrish's successor.

That search ended in September. Moore said Jerome Hansen, a regional habitat manager with the agency's Lewiston office, was picked out of seven candidates to fill the supervisor position. He'll start the job on Dec. 1, and Partridge will retire from the agency at the end of 2008.

Hansen has served more than 22 years with Fish and Game, in its state and two regional offices. He's worked on wolves, hydropower plant licenses and other issues over the years, including a few projects in the Magic Valley.

Born in Kansas, he's aware his name contains two Magic Valley towns and said he thinks it's funny his office will be near Jerome.

"I would love to live in Hansen for a while, just so I can confuse people," he joked.

Hansen and Partridge will share director duties for December to give Hansen time to settle in, he said. He'd like to bring a mentoring program to the region that he developed up north, pairing youth with experienced hunters for a whole season. Otherwise, he said, he doesn't have any immediate plans or changes to propose and will "listen and learn" for the first few weeks.

He's interested in several ongoing issues in the region, including sage grouse, populations of which seem to have dropped and which could possibly be listed as threatened or endangered.

"I just think that's where it's at," he said, speaking of the working groups formed by various agencies and the public to study the problem.

The grouse were one of the species referred to by Parrish that could possibly be affected by the China Mountain project. Asked what his thoughts were about coming in on the heels of Parrish's demotion, Hansen said all he can do is just look ahead.

"We're just going to charge on," he said. "There's so many good things we've got going, I think, in the region."


Source: http://www.magicvalley.com/...

NOV 25 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18062-parrish-s-fish-game-demotion-under-review-hansen-selected-as-new-f-g-regional-boss
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