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Conservancy board to hold first meeting

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy board will meet for the first time on Thursday to discuss how to build the state agency from a concept to a fully staffed, functioning conservancy.

Right now the conservancy is a signed state bill and little else. But by Thursday, the wheels of California’s largest conservancy will go into motion.

The 13-member conservancy board has yet to be completed, awaiting the appointment of four more state representatives. These appointments are expected by Wednesday.

At the meeting, which will be held in Sacramento, the completed board will discuss two of the agency’s biggest decisions: The location of conservancy’s offices and the choice of an executive director.

But don’t expect these decision to be made at the first meeting, said David Willis, the lone state staff member working solely on the conservancy. The choice of the conservancy’s headquarters will especially take some time.

“We are not suggesting that they move quickly on (the conservancy location),” Willis said. “That will take some time.”

Shawn Garvey, the executive director of the Sierra Fund, agreed that a hurried decision on the conservancy’s offices would not be prudent. The Sierra Fund is suggesting that the board ask all of the towns interested in serving as the headquarters of the state agency submit a packet to the board that touts the area’s suitability.

“That seems like a responsible way to go about this,” Garvey said.

Until a headquarters is decided, the conservancy will continue to meet in Sacramento, Willis said.

The executive director, which will be chosen solely by the board, should be hired by the beginning of next year, said Willis. A committee of board members may be formed to evaluate and interview candidates. By early next year, the agency may have as many as 20 employees, Willis said.

The other events at the board meeting will be administrative essentials. The board members will be sworn in and the conservancy’s budget will be up for approval.

With an approved budget, and possibly funding lined up from a Sierra license plate bill up for state approval, Garvey said the conservancy should begin coming together quickly beginning with the next meeting tentatively scheduled for late June.

“There is essentially a mandate that the conservancy get up and running with some speed,” said Garvey.


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