UPDATE: A flash on the report from earlier in the morning. Deputy Director Mike Knoedl has been chosen by the state Game and Fish Commission to be the agency’s next director. If the rumors of divisions on the commission before the meeting were true, they came to a consensus choice. The official vote was unanimous.

Knoedl, 48, joined the agency as a wildlife officer in 1985. He was one of three deputy directors. The change of leadership will take effect Sunday. Here’s Joe Mosby’s report for Stephens Media.

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Official news release is on the jump.

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MICHAEL KNOEDL: Deputy director at Arkansas Game and Fish.

  • MICHAEL KNOEDL: Deputy director at Arkansas Game and Fish.

I mentioned in print so I probably should mention here that the politicos who follow the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission expect the group to reach a decision this morning on a new director. The meeting begins at 10 a.m.

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Director Loren Hitchcock, who got enmeshed in the heavy politicking that attends the customary efforts by the politically appointed commissioners to run things and an unhappy employee review of the agency and commissioner meddling, has announced plans to retire. Applications were taken and winnowed down.

Insiders think Deputy Director Michael Knoedl, who rose in the ranks through the enforcement division, has the inside track on the commission currently. But, surprise, some employees aren’t happy about that. An anonymous letter has been circulating in the agency. Among less bitter characterizations, it notes Knoedl’s academic record includes only a high school diploma and that he’d once sued the agency over pay practices. On a more subjective level, Knoedl’s temperament and work habits are called into question.

As I observed in print, the constitutional amendment intended to separate Game and Fish from politics only instituted a different, and just as intense, form of politics.

My source says a rump effort is underway to support an extension of Hitchcock’s tenure. I suspect somebody might write a letter about that, too.

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