Acting ANF chief: Stability needed at top

jcotton@timesobserver.com

“(We) need someone that wants to be here and wants to be here for quite a while.”

That’s the message that Allegheny National Forest Acting Forest Supervisor Clyde Thompson brought to the Warren County Council of Governments’ meeting on Wednesday evening at the Warren Municipal Building.

Thompson, who has served as the supervisor of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia since 2002, said that his “objective coming up here (was to) keep some things going, address issues going on, partly to position ourselves for some of the things that are coming.” He specifically mentioned the forest planning process as part of that.

He cited the turnover of the supervisor position on the ANF as a concern, noting that since he has been on the Monongahela the ANF has had four permanent supervisors and three or four people serving in an acting supervisor capacity.

Thompson told the COG members that it is “hard to deal with all the turmoil that creates. I don’t know what you all think but I don’t think you trust government. Trust is for people. When you’re coming and going like this, folks don’t know who you are. (You) don’t develop trust or relationships.”

As for where the process stands for finding the next permanent supervisor, Thompson said he thought the Forest Service “would work on this pretty quickly.” He explained that, after starting the process of filling the vacancy, “no one on the list was suitable. (We) need someone that wants to be here and wants to be here for quite a while.”

Thompson said he is willing to stay on until that person is found.

Thompson said he told his supervisor in Wisconsin, “I will keep doing this until they find someone. (There are) a lot of great folks so it’s a good place.”

COG Facilitator John Zavinski said that they have “had a good working relationship with the Allegheny National Forest. I don’t see why that can’t continue.”