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Washington State Parks director resigns, seven months after starting job

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 7, 2021

Mayer  (Courtesy Washington State Parks)
Mayer (Courtesy Washington State Parks)

OLYMPIA – After less than a year on the job, Pete Mayer has resigned as director of Washington State Parks.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announced the resignation late Wednesday. Mayer, who took on the position in March, chose to resign because of “the best interest of his family” and “to pursue other opportunities closer to his new home,” according to a statement from the commission.

His resignation comes the same day as a special meeting held by the commission to receive and evaluate complaints brought against a public officer or employee. The agenda for the meeting, first reported by the Seattle Times, does not name the employee.

The purpose of the meeting was to determine if the commission needed to prescribe additional measures, such as putting the employee on home assignment or appointing an interim officer to carry out duties.

“Since the meeting was related to an ongoing personnel matter, I do not have any additional details to provide at this time,” agency spokesperson Amanda McCarthy wrote in an email to The Spokesman-Review.

Mayer resigned to focus on family and opportunities in his new home of Issaquah, she added.

According to meeting minutes, Mayer’s resignation was announced as soon as the meeting started, before the commission went into executive session to discuss appointing an interim director.

“The commission appreciates Mayer’s service to Parks and the citizens of Washington,” an agency news release says.

While Mayer’s resignation is effective Jan. 3, assistant director Peter Herzog has been appointed interim director. The commission is working to recruit and hire a new director. The nature of Mayer’s continued employment with the department wasn’t clear Thursday.

In a resignation letter to Chair Michael Latimer, Mayer wrote he was proud of progress on diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as toward more staff resources and leadership to effectively administer its growing trails portfolio.

Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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