May 26 2009

Tuthill departs

Published by at 12:14 pm under Idaho


David Tuthill

Idaho Department of Water Resources Director David Tuthill said on May 26 that he plans to retire from the department as of the end of June.

He has been director since January 2007; previously, he had led the water management division and for some years before that was the adjudication bureau chief, the IDWR official most directly involved in overseeing work on the SRBA. Tuthill’s departure signals a major development in Idaho water, though what that may mean won’t become clear for a while.

In that capacity, he was central in setting – from the department’s point of view, across the aisle from the SRBA Courts – the pattern for researching and resolving water claims and the state’s review of them. Mont by month, those numbers have dropped dramatically, and the number of basins reviewed increased. The SRBA has some resolution in sight, a situation unknown when Tuthill moved in more than a decade (and three SRBA judges) ago.

Water resource directors in Idaho ordinarily are appointed by the governor (with state Senate confirmation) for four-year terms (roughly matching those of the governor). Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter will appoint a replacement to fill the rest of the term; that appointee will need Senate confirmation in 2010.
From Tuthill’s departure memo:

It is with the deepest feelings of gratitude that I write these words: I will be retiring from the State of Idaho as of June 30, 2009.
What an honor it has been to have served as the Director of this fine agency – first as Interim and then under full appointment – for the past two and a half years. These have been the most challenging and rewarding years of my professional life, and I will always cherish the honor to have served with you, the fine employees of IDWR, in this capacity.
The position of Director has provided numerous opportunities for us to work together to respond to drought emergencies, to speak about the vision of the Department, to issue orders on contested matters, to work with the Governor and the Legislature, to implement interesting and state-of-the-art technology, and to deal with budget shortfalls.
All of these efforts have been tirelessly and effectively staffed and supported by you — this has truly been a collaborative effort.
Serving as Director has been a highly rewarding experience – to work with each of you, with the Governor, his staff, the Legislators and DFM, with the waterusers, the media and the general public, with supporters and critics. Have I enjoyed every minute?
No. Has it been ninety-five percent good and a smattering of tough? Yes. Has it been a tremendous job? Absolutely.
So if the job is this good, why would I be leaving at the vigorous age of 57? We have already survived the tough issues. Many of the contentious issues have been ruled on and submitted for Court review. The tough calls have been made to prepare for a reduced budget.
Indeed, the reason that I am retiring from State Government at this time is that everything is in place to enable me to retire with the sense that I am handing off an agency that is in a good position: we are in the middle of a normal water year; we have a strong plan for dealing with the funding reductions of FY201O; and almost all of our 47 business processes are functioning very well. Hence, I can now feel good about handing off the baton of leadership.
IDWR has been very good to me and my family. Working in the public sector has given me so many professional rewards. But now it is time for me to enter the private sector, “Phase 2″ of my professional life. My father and both grandfathers were entrepreneurs, so I have this perspective in my blood. I plan to work in Idaho in the field of water engineering. In this capacity I look forward to working with you and many others in the water industry in the coming decades.
You are no doubt wondering about what will happen next to the agency.
Selection of my replacement is up to the Governor. I will be working with the Governor’s Office and our staff to ensure an orderly transition. The new Interim Director will have the benefit of a powerful and highly functioning group of nine direct-reports to this position.

There was no immediate indication will an appointee will be forthcoming.

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