Idaho will see a temporary change in the leadership of the federal Bureau of Land Management as State Director Steve Ellis goes this week to Washington as BLM acting deputy director for operations for four months.
Ellis begins his temporary duty Tuesday, essentially becoming the number two person at the federal agency that has 10,000 employees and manages 245 million acres of federal land across the West. He replaces Jamie Connell, who returned to her position as BLM Montana/Dakotas State
While Ellis is gone, Tim Murphy, the assistant director for Fire and Aviation, who heads the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, will serve as state director. Peter
Ditton, current Idaho associate state director, will replace Murphy.
The temporary shifts are the result of the lack of a permanent director for the agency. Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze, is the acting director. He tapped Ellis, who has been at the center of several major BLM controversies including the Gateway Transmission route review and the Owyhee grazing permit approval process.
“Over the past several months, I have come to rely on Steve’s expertise and leadership, and I know he will make a great addition to the team here in D.C,” Kornze said.
Ellis began his career in the BLM’s Burley District in southern Idaho as a forester. His federal career has taken him across the West in the BLM and even into the U.S. Forest Service where he served as supervisor of the Fremont-Winema National Forest and
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
The former Congressional Fellow in the U.S. Senate, will likely find himself testifying in Congress in his new job. But he plans to return to Idaho when his stint is over.