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Beltrami County commissioners select Moore to replace Snyder as land commissioner

A Montana state natural resources official will be Beltrami County's new land commissioner.

Beltrami County commissioners approved the hire of Richard Anders Moore by voting for a $68,411.20 salary for the post.

Moore since 2007 has been an area resource conservation manager for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation in Billings, Mont. He supervises eight employees responsible for managing 381,000 acres of school trust land.

He starts Feb. 1, replacing Greg Snyder, who has left the county for a post with the state Department of Natural Resources. As land commissioner, Moore will also head the county's Natural Resource Management Department.

While no one on staff applied for the post, County Administrator Tony Murphy said Tuesday that having someone with an outside perspective will be good for county forest and recreation management.

"We've had someone from the inside for many years, and this will be good to have someone from outside with new energy and new ideas," Murphy said. "And, with most staff members retiring soon, the new land commissioner will have the opportunity to build a new team."

Snyder took over from Bob Milne and Milne replaced Mark Reed. Reed succeeded Norm Moody, who also was executive secretary to the County Board. He took over from long-time Land Commissioner Lenny Bergstrom. All held other county positions before becoming land commissioner.

Moore, from 1987-91, was forest resource manager for Cass County where he worked on the county's five-year forest resource management plan.

After that, he was a financial institution sales manager in Shoreview, Minn., a timber sale specialist for the state of Montana, director of forestry and natural resources for Douglas County in Wisconsin and unit manager for the state of Montana as resource program manager before gaining his current post.

Murphy said four people applied for the post and a county committee interviewed two.

Commissioner Quentin Fairbanks questioned the hiring process, saying he wanted to meet Moore first and interview him. Moore was not at Tuesday's meeting.

But Murphy said under the management system operated by the county, it is the county administrator's job to hire county staff and the County Board's role to create and fund the position.

Murphy, however, used a committee with diverse views, including County Board Chairman Jack Frost, to interview and recommend a candidate.

Frost said he was impressed with Moore and added that he should bring a multi-use perspective that will be sensitive to logging and recreation pressures on the county's 147,000 acres.

A county Park and Trail Advisory Council now takes some of that pressure off the Natural Resources Management Department, but there is still a controversy between loggers wanting to harvest more timber and environmentalists wanting a pristine outdoor experience.