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Posts tagged: Tom Schultz

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.

Increasing complexity of state lands issues separated forester position

Under Idaho law, the state forester is either the director of the state Department of Lands or his/her designee. The last two state lands directors, George Bacon and Winston Wiggins, served as state forester as well as director, but Bacon appointed David Groeschl as acting state forester in July before he retired, leaving the question of a permanent decision to the next director. Current state Lands Director Tom Schultz said, “Clearly I have to have my hands and feet in the forestry issues, but a lot of those issues take place up in Coeur d'Alene, where the timber basket is.” That's where Groeschl is based. “I think there probably was a day when things were less complex,” Schultz said, and “allowed the director to directly engage in state forestry issues probably more than I can.” These days, the state lands director is engaged in lots of other issues as well, from state-owned cabin site leases to legislation.

Schultz noted that in both Montana and Washington, the state forester is a separate position from the state lands director.
  

Idaho names new state forester

David Groeschl (it rhymes with special) has been named Idaho's state forester by state Department of Lands Director Tom Schultz. Groeschl, who's been the acting state forester since July, joined IDL in 2008 as the forestry and fire division administrator; prior to that, he was forest management bureau chief for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation from 2004 to 2008, after working in private, industrial and public forestry around the nation. Groeschl holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin in forest management and a master's degree in forestry from Virginia Tech.

Schultz said, “We are lucky to have someone of David’s caliber to take over the reins as the state forester. He brings experience from the private sector and other parts of the country adding to his extensive forestry background in Idaho to help us succeed in our endowment mission to maximize these resources for the beneficiaries of the state.” The state forester is required by law to carry out the  provisions of the Idaho Forestry Act and the rules and regulations of the state Land Board on forest and watershed protection.

Schultz became Idaho's state lands director in August, replacing longtime IDL employee George Bacon, who retired; like Groeschl, Schultz came from Montana, where he was administrator of trust land management for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and had worked since 1997. Schultz, an Air Force veteran, 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.

Land Board picks Montana official to head Idaho Department of Lands

Idaho's state Land Board has voted unanimously to hire Tom Schultz, current administrator of trust land management for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, as Idaho's new state lands director. Schultz, 42, replaces George Bacon, a longtime department employee and the director from 2007 until about a month ago, when he retired; Schultz was chosen from among four finalists, including two from within the department. Schultz will be paid $112,800 per year, the same salary Bacon was earning; it's below the state policy level for the position of $116,000, but he'll get a review and possible adjustment after six months.

“We had four quality candidates, and I appreciate them stepping forward, especially those that are a part of the department,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. “I think Tom brings a set of skills from Montana that will take the department to the next level.”

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said, “We had some very fine candidates – Kathy Opp in particular.” Opp is the acting director and current deputy director; she's been with the department since 2004, and also worked for the department from 1992 to 1998, serving as its fiscal officer. Opp also worked for Boise Cascade.

The other two finalists were Bob Brammer, assistant director at the department for lands, minerals and range; and Lon Lundberg, a businessman and property manager from Meridian. “We had some great people that applied for the job,” said state Controller Donna Jones. “I think we were very lucky.” Added Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, “I think we're going to have the best of both worlds – hopefully our candidates from inside the department will decide to stay and be part of the team.”

This is the first time in decades a director has been selected from outside the department. Gov. Butch Otter said Schultz “brings a lot of new ideas and experiences, especially concerning return on assets.” In Montana, Schultz has headed the trust land management division for the state since 2001; he's been with the state since 1997 and has also served as chief of the forest management bureau and administrator of the water resources division. Schultz is the current president of the Western States Land Commissioners Association. 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.

Said Gov. Butch Otter, “He comes with a pretty well-established background on natural resources and on management of same.” Plus, he said, “He was a great interview.” The governor said, “We saw it as a great fit for what we consider to be a great team.”

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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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