Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman named an associate chief of the Forest Service as its acting chief Monday and said he intends to pick a permanent successor to Jack Ward Thomas by the end of the month.
Associate Chief Dave Unger, 64, assumed the temporary post on Monday, Thomas’ last day after three years as chief.
Unger joined the Forest Service in 1987 as director of watershed and air management. Before that, he was associate chief of the Agriculture Department’s Soil Conservation Service and also worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Thomas announced in October he was stepping down as chief to teach at the University of Montana. The only wildlife biologist ever to head an agency that historically focused more on timber production, he clashed with environmentalists and timber industry officials.