North-central Idaho’s regional administrator of the Division of Environmental Quality has decided to resign in the wake of legislation stripping his job of civil service protection beginning July 1.
Gregg Teasdale of Lewiston said he decided to return to school to obtain another advanced degree after lawmakers added his and about 60 other relatively high-level state jobs to the ranks of patronage.
Gov. Phil Batt, who signed the law last week, has repeatedly emphasized that he has no intention of letting politics affect the appointment of people to the jobs that will lose the state’s equivalent of civil service protection.
The bill pushes above 1,600 the number of employees in the state’s 16,000-member work force who are not protected by the state personnel system.
Although Batt expressed reservations about some of the jobs included in the bill, he accepted it as part of his attempt to make government more responsive to the public. And one of the bill’s chief proponents, Republican Sen. Jim Risch of Boise, who served on Batt’s transition team last fall, said the Division of Environmental Quality needed change in that direction more than any other.
Teasdale said he was leaving the division on amicable terms. And while it is the Legislature’s prerogative to decide which jobs will be protected and which ones will be patronage, Teasdale said he believed injecting the perception of politics into jobs like his could disregard the technical background they require.