Office of Governor Gary Locke
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 24, 2003
Contact: Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136
Gov. Gary Locke Names Tom Fitzsimmons Chief of StaffGov. Gary Locke today announced that he has appointed Tom Fitzsimmons, director of the state Department of Ecology, to be his new chief of staff effective Oct. 1.
Fitzsimmons, 53, has been director of the Department of Ecology since Locke became governor in 1997 – the second-longest serving director in Ecology’s 33-year history.
“I chose Tom for this job because he is a great leader, a great team player, and a great guy,” Locke said. “Tom’s leadership will be essential in the months ahead. We are heading into an extremely busy stretch. This is crunch time. We want to get as much accomplished as possible in the coming fifteen months.”
As Ecology director, Fitzsimmons has spearheaded reforms to the state’s water-management laws as well as the shoreline-management, water-quality and toxic-cleanup regulations. Permit and grant processes have been streamlined without lowering environmental standards, and the department has earned national recognition for the wealth of information, resources and access available through its Web site.
“Being the director of Ecology has been both the greatest challenge and the most rewarding work of my life,” Fitzsimmons said. “I am going to miss it very much, but I also look forward to serving the governor in this new capacity and helping him finish his very important agenda.”
Along with securing dedicated funding for education, winning final assembly of the Boeing 7E7 and improving access to affordable health care, improving the environment is one of Locke’s top priorities as he completes his second term as governor.
Deputy Ecology director Linda Hoffman will become acting director of the agency.
Fitzsimmons will be paid $130,668 annually, the same as the previous chief of staff.
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Editor’s Note: An electronic photo of Fitzsimmons is available by calling the Governor’s Communications Hotline at 360-902-4136.