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Pollution authority nominees screened

Tue., May 23, 2006

Three finalists were interviewed Monday to lead the Spokane County Air Pollution Control Authority.

The agency’s board has been searching for a new director since September, when the group’s director resigned. A final selection is expected Wednesday.

The candidates are SCAPCA’s Interim Director Ron Edgar, William Dameworth III, of Oregon, and Shams Hasan, of California.

“All three candidates are very impressive,” said Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke, who is on the SCAPCA board. “All three candidates have very unique experience in the field.”

Dameworth was employed at the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which serves the Los Angeles area, before moving to Oregon where he worked in environmental compliance in private industry, Mielke said. One of Dameworth’s jobs was environmental manager for Pope & Talbot Inc.

Edgar, who joined SCAPCA in 1977 as a chemist, served as chief of technical services for 12 years before being appointed interim director.

Hasan is an air quality specialist for the South Coast Air Quality Management District, where he has worked for close to 20 years, Mielke said.

The SCAPCA board met with each candidate for about an hour in a closed meeting. Afterward, the board decided to continue deliberations at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the commissioners’ boardroom at the Spokane County Courthouse. The meeting will be closed to the public until the board is ready to make a decision.

Mielke said much of the questioning in interviews focused on expanding the agency’s outreach efforts and the uniform application of air quality rules.

A citizen advisory committee evaluated 38 applications for the job, interviewed some candidates by phone and forwarded its top three choices to the board, said SCAPCA Board Chairman and Airway Heights Mayor Matthew Pederson, who also served on the advisory committee.

SCAPCA’s former director Eric Skelton quit in September, saying board members had pressured him to be less assertive in regulating local companies. Mielke said he and a majority of the board had asked Skelton to stay.

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