by Max Brantley
A spokesman for the governor said he had no information on filling the job, but would get back to me Monday. Later, I received a response from Allen Bedell, chair of the commission:
At the quarterly of the Arkansas Forestry Commission on Friday, April 20, the Board of Commissioners, serving as the search committee did unanimously agree to recommend the appointment of Joe Fox to serve as the next State Forester. Mr. Fox's name is being sent to Governor Beebe, asking that he be approved as agency director.
Joe Fox has a long history of association with AFC, having previously served as a commissioner and chairman of the commission. He, as you note, most recently has been an employee of the Nature Conservancy.
The Board of Commissioners of AFC look forward to the approval of our recommendation by Governor Beebe, and to the leadership that Mr. Fox will give the agency.
John Shannon was forced to resign as head of the agency in February after discovery that the agency had improperly used money borrowed from federal grants to shore up ailing finances.
Fox has been at the Conservancy since 2000. He monitors timber management on land the organization seeks to preserve. An article on the nonprofit organization's website talks with him about his work and included the photo shown here.
Deputy state forester Larry Nance had led the agency during the interim while the Forestry Commission sought applicants for a full-time job.