The following article appeared in the Star News Online:
MOREHEAD CITY -- In the coming weeks, Braxton Davis will return to one job and the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will have a new leader.
Then-Gov. Pat McCrory tabbed Davis last April to head fisheries, shortly after long-time director Louis Daniel resigned from the director's position. Davis was already serving as director of the state's Division of Coastal Management, a job he's held since September 2011.
The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality will immediately begin a national search for a new fisheries director, according to a Wednesday release. Davis will oversee both divisions until that search is complete, then he will remain in the coastal management role.
"Braxton and I and our leadership team have discussed the workload of managing two divisions, and we all agree that oversight of both divisions is more than one person can handle in a long-term situation," N.C. DEQ Secretary Michael Regan said in a statement.
The heads of both the Coastal Resources Commission and the Marine Fisheries Commission praised Davis' work while he was holding both jobs. Sammy Corbett, who chairs the fisheries board, said he wasn't surprised by Regan's decision to find a new director.
"It's probably the best thing in the long run," Corbett said. "I hate to lose Braxton because he did such a great job. He was great to deal with."
Frank Gorham, the Coastal Resource Commission's chair, said he is shocked if he calls Davis and doesn't receive a response within five minutes.
"I have had zero situations where I've wanted Braxton and didn't get him," Gorham said. "I think he's burnt it at both ends of the candle, so he's exhausted."
According to the state's job posting, the director of Marine Fisheries will earn between $71,698 and $119,815.
Gorham issued a warning to anyone applying for the job, referencing the push-and-pull between commercial and recreational anglers that is a trademark of the Marine Fisheries job.
"That person has got to be a water walker," he said, "because, man, are you walking into the Hatfields and the McCoys."
Corbett, whose term on the commission expires in June, believes Davis' work in Fisheries could set a model for the new hire.
"I would love to see them find somebody kind of like Braxton was," he said, "somebody that relied on his staff to help him, that didn't take the attitude that he knew it all and didn't need help."
Reporter Adam Wagner can be reached at 910-343-2389 or [email protected]