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Game Commission names Washington County native as executive director

| Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 6:42 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has a new, if temporary, executive director.

The agency's eight-man board of commissioners unanimously named Matt Hough to succeed Carl Roe, effective at 4 p.m. Friday, when Roe officially retires.

Hough is a Washington County native. He graduated from Trinity High School and West Virginia before joining the commission. He worked as a wildlife conservation officer in Washington and then Westmoreland counties, moved into the region office, where he became the director, then was promoted to deputy executive director of the commission in 2010.

How long he'll serve in the top spot remains to be seen.

A quirk in the law prevents the commission from naming an “interim” or “acting” executive director, but that's essentially what Hough is, said commissioner Ralph Martone of New Castle. Hough will serve only until the board names a more permanent replacement.

The process of finding that person is under way.

Thirty-three people applied for the job, which pays between $95,022 and $129,370 annually. The board will interview five on Feb. 5 and 6, said commissioner Dave Putnam of Centre County.

How quickly a director emerges depends on when the board comes to a consensus, Putnam said. All eight board members have been invited to attend the interviews, he said.

Putnam declined to name any of the candidates but said it's a mix of people from within and outside Pennsylvania.

In the meantime, the commission is in good hands with Hough, even as it approaches some big events, Martone said. The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee will next month release a report examining the possible merger of the Game Commission with the Fish and Boat Commission. The commission also is scheduled to give its annual report to the House of Representatives game and fisheries committee — an often contentious event — in February.

“I certainly have faith in Matt's ability to maintain the agency in the interim,” Martone said.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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