UPDATE: Wildlife Commission approves Storm contract at $140,000 salary

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Rich Storm

UPDATE POSTED 6:00 P.M. APRIL 14, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state Fish and Wildlife Commission hired Rich Storm as the department’s new director.

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The vote came two weeks after the Commission voted to hire Storm for a third time and 17 days after the Legislature gave the commission ultimate authority over the position, ending, at least temporarily a year-long legal and political squabble.

Wednesday’s decision came after about 40 minutes of discussion behind closed doors. No details of the contract were disclosed before the Commission came back into public session and voted 6-1 to hire Storm.

Board member Brian Fisher voted no.

Board Chairman Doctor Karl Klinard negotiated the contract. The only change the board made was granting a 5 percent pay raise after Storm has been on the job a year. The original contract called for the raise after he’d been on the job two years but board member Kenny Knott made a motion for the change.

The contract is for four years — April 16, 2021-April 15, 2025 with a first-year salary of $140,000 through June 30, 2022, the 5 percent increase to $147,000 for the second year and then $147,000 for years three and four, according to Kevin Kelly, the chief communications officer for the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

The contract also includes  health insurance stipend to cover actual out-of-pocket insurance premium costs, not to exceed $700/month or $8,400/year, 12 days of sick leave, 24 days of annual leave and the normal FICA contribution, according to Kelly.

Storm starts work Friday.

“Welcome back,” Klinard said in a brief statement, that included praise for the work Brian Clark has done on an interim basis leading the department. Klinard said he hoped the spirit of cooperation would continue with Storm.

Brian Clark was named Deputy Commissioner for Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources in 2019. He has served with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife since 1995 and has more than 30 years of professional experience in fish and wildlife conservation.

The board and Governor Andy Beshear have been at odds over the position for a year. The Legislature gave the Commission control over the hiring and pay. It’s the third time the Commission has named Storm.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 4 P.M. APRIL 1, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A state committee wastes no time in exercising its new authority.

Three days after the Legislature overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto, the Fish and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to name Carlisle-native Rich Storm director of the agency.

It’s the third time the board has named Storm, but the decision has been tied up in court since last August. One ruling in favor of Beshear still is in the state Court of Appeals, but the Legislature’s decision Monday may make it moot.

Both sides have blamed the dispute on politics and power. The board says Storm, who is a former board chairman, has the knowledge to fix decade-old problems that plagued the agency.

“Politics has no place in our decision and should not interfere in this sacred trust. The sportsmen and sportswomen of the commonwealth deserve no less,” said Dr. Karl Klinard, chairman of the Commission.

Part of the dispute over Storm has been the amount of his contract. Klinard will negotiate that and the board still must approve it.