January 30, 1995 in Nation/World

New Attorney General All Business Alan Lance Emphasizes Efficiency As He Takes Over From Larry Echohawk

Associated Press

Idaho’s new attorney general says he has two speeds - fast and faster.

“I have certain professional standards that are expected to be followed,” said Alan Lance, a Republican and a captain in the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 1974-1978.

Lance, 45, considers himself a no-nonsense man who expects a certain professionalism and order from himself and his staff.

The attorney general’s office has 149 employees, including 67 lawyers. It’s the largest law office in the state of Idaho and has an annual budget of some $9.5 million.

Lance wasn’t satisfied with the organization of this staff when he succeeded Democratic Attorney General Larry EchoHawk earlier this month, so he made some changes.

“I don’t mean to be critical of my predecessors, but the organization of the attorney general’s office seemed to be somewhat lacking from a managerial perspective,” Lance said.

So, to assure the office reflected “efficient managerial practices,” Lance replaced some personnel in critical positions. That included moving one of the two employees in the Consumer Affairs Division to the Criminal Division.

“We have a job to do, and the less time we spend in confusion, the more time we have to do the job,” Lance said.

Lance said his main focus as attorney general will be on natural resources and criminal law. He has promised to prosecute criminal offenders vigorously and to keep a sharp eye on developments in environmental cases, such as wolf reintroduction, water and public land issues.

He is wasting no time. The attorney general already is working against a recent federal court order that all mining, timber harvesting and grazing in national forests be halted until further impact studies can be completed.

“My job is to support the troops by ensuring they have the personnel and material necessary to accomplish their assigned tasks,” he said.

Lance came to Idaho in 1978. He said he was visiting a friend in Boise and “liked the country and the people and the outdoor recreational activities” so much that he moved his wife, Sheryle, and three children from Texas - where he has been command judge advocate at the Corpus Christi Army Depot.

He first ran for a seat in the Idaho Legislature in 1990 and served two terms in the House.

Now, as attorney general, Lance said, “The prospects of service to the people of Idaho are almost unlimited and the responsibilities are somewhat awesome.”

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