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Eye On Boise

Land Board votes to give director a raise after positive 6-month review

Idaho's state Land Board has voted unanimously to give state Lands Director Tom Schultz a raise from $112,800 per year to $120,000 a year, after a six-month review gave him high marks for his performance in the post. “Speaking for the entire board, Tom Schultz has done a great job for us as our director of the Department of Lands, and I think we made a very good hire and we're patting ourselves on the back,” said Secretary of State Ben Ysursa.

Gov. Butch Otter said, “He's hit the ground running.” Schultz, the former administrator of trust land management for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, was the first department director hired from outside the department in decades. In Montana, he headed the trust land management division for the state for a decade; he'd been with the state since 1997 and also served as chief of the forest management bureau and administrator of the water resources division. An Air Force veteran, he holds a degree in government from the University of Virginia, a master's in political science from the University of Wyoming and a master's in forestry from the University of Montana.

Otter said he's been impressed with Schultz's enthusiasm and ideas; he oversees management of the state's 2.4 million surface acres of endowment lands and 3.3 million acres of endowment minerals, along with overseeing fire protection on 6.2 million acres of state and private lands and the department's regulatory functions over forest practices, lake protection and surface mining. “Most specifically, I was really pleased with the feedback that I got from the Legislature,” Otter said, “because as you know, there were some things proposed that we felt infringed upon the constitutional direction of the agency and of the commission itself. So he's satisfied on all fronts.”

Schultz originally was hired at the same salary paid the previous director, George Bacon, which was below the state policy level for the position of $116,000, but with the promise of a review and possible adjustment after six months.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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