The initial search for a new Wyoming oil and gas supervisor came up empty.
On Tuesday, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission extended an offer to an applicant whose name wasn’t publicly revealed. However, according to Renny MacKay, communications director for Gov. Matt Mead, the applicant didn’t accept the offer.
“The most qualified candidate did choose to go another way,” MacKay said Thursday.
Interim Oil and Gas Supervisor Bob King said Thursday he had been told that the applicant didn’t flatly reject the commission’s offer, but had already chosen “to take a different career direction” before he was offered the position.
A call to Ryan Lance, director of the Office of State Lands and Investments and a member of the commission, was not returned Thursday.
The commission has been searching for a new supervisor since June, when Tom Doll resigned in the wake of controversial comments he made at an industry gathering in British Columbia, Canada. At the event, Doll said Pavillion-area residents participating in a groundwater contamination investigation were motivated by greed.
King has served as interim supervisor since July.
The search for a permanent supervisor was slowed early by a statutory requirement that the person hired for the position be a geologist or engineer licensed in Wyoming. King told state legislators in August that only about six or seven of
25 applicants were qualified for the position.
By October, King reported 41 applicants. The commission interviewed seven applicants — five of whom were licensed in Wyoming — Oct. 17 in Cheyenne.
The commission will now reopen the application process. The new search is likely to be shaped by pending state legislation that would remove the licensing requirement.
The state Legislature’s Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee voted to support the bill in October. The Legislature’s next scheduled session begins in January. King said he’s offered the state his services as interim supervisor through the 2013 Legislative session, which will end in March.
Some of the commission members believe that removing the licensing requirement could invite a wider pool of applicants.
“That [requirement] has been an issue that the commissioners are very aware of,” King said. “It’s created some potential concern as to whether or not all the candidates that might be interested in this job had applied.”
Neither King nor MacKay knew whether Thursday’s decision to accept a new round of resumes disqualifies candidates who have already interviewed or applied for the position. King said the commission has already interviewed some candidates who aren’t licensed in the state but whose qualifications are otherwise satisfactory.