Gov. Jim Risch held a press conference today to announce more appointments, and the news included a new chairman for the Idaho Transportation Board: Former state Rep. Frank Bruneel, who will immediately replace Chuck Winder in that position. Both Risch and Bruneel said they’re dedicated to seeing through the GARVEE bonding program that Winder spearheaded for former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne. “Frank shares the passion I have to make this work,” Risch said. “If anyone can make it work, I believe Frank Bruneel can.”
Risch said he had nothing bad to say about Winder. “Chuck has been a good and faithful public servant for many, many years, has done a very good job,” Risch said. “What a chief executive wants is someone that he knows, that he’s worked with, just really has a close relationship.” Risch said the board chairman’s position is the only one at the Transportation Department that serves at the pleasure of the governor, so it allows him to have his person there. The director of the Transportation Department serves at the pleasure of the board, and the other board members serve fixed terms, none of which are now up.
Risch also named former Boise Mayor Carolyn Terteling-Payne to be the new administrator of the Division of Human Resources for the state, replacing Ann Heilman. “She will take office immediately,” Risch said of Terteling-Payne. “She as mayor had her own human resources challenges with the city of Boise, which I thought she handled admirably.”
Risch did not – as had been rumored – fire the current Agriculture Department head, Pat Takasugi. Instead, he reappointed Takasugi, but replaced his deputy director, Mike Everett, with Phil Bandy. Bandy, who has worked at the department since last year and currently is invasive species coordinator, also worked for the state Department of Environmental Quality for 15 years, and Risch said he’ll help the two departments work together on issues over which they have overlapping responsibilities.
Risch also reappointed Karl Dreher as director of the state Department of Water Resources; Toni Hardesty as director of the Department of Environmental Quality; and Gavin Gee as director of the state Department of Finance. Several more cabinet positions remain to be named; asked about some of those, Risch said he will definitely be keeping on state Lands Director Winston Wiggins and Office of Endangered Species head Jim Caswell. “I don’t want anyone to get nervous about that,” Risch said.