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State Water Commission

Gov. Doug Burgum, right, and Tom Bodine, deputy agriculture commissioner, left, listen to Water Commissioner Harley Swenson pose a question about one of the ongoing water projects across North Dakota at the State Water Commission meeting in Bismarck on Thursday. 

Gov. Doug Burgum is accepting applications to the State Water Commission after asking all seven members to reapply for their jobs.

Burgum accepted resignations from the members, who combined have more than 100 years of service, and opened up applications that are due July 21.

Burgum, who became chairman of the nine-member State Water Commission after taking office as governor last December, also required members of his Cabinet to reapply for their jobs.

“It is always a good board governance practice to thoroughly review a pool of leadership candidates at the beginning of a new term,” Burgum said in a statement.

The seven members appointed by the governor serve six-year terms, with members from each of the major drainage basins in North Dakota.

Two of the members, Harley Swenson of Bismarck and Robert Thompson of Page, joined the commission in 1993 under appointments by then-Gov. Ed Schafer.

Commission member Larry Hanson of Bismarck has served on the panel since 1999, while Maurice Foley of Minot and Arne Berg of Devils Lake were both appointed in 2006.

Douglas Vosper of Neche has served on the commission since 2008 and George Nodland of Dickinson has served since 2013.

Burgum formally accepted resignations from all seven at the commission's June meeting. He reappointed three members, Berg, Foley and Hanson, so the board will have a quorum until appointments have been made.

The members of the commission are eligible to reapply for the positions.

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“The state of North Dakota is grateful for the leadership of these State Water Commission members,” Burgum said. “Their service in promoting water resource management and addressing flood protection, water supply and other water issues is greatly appreciated.”

As of Wednesday, at least 15 had applied for the commission, including Berg and Foley, said Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki. Thompson has informed the governor's office he does not plan to reapply, Nowatzki said.

The application form can be found at https://www.governor.nd.gov/boards/.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring also serves on the commission as an ex-officio member.

The state engineer serves as the commission’s executive officer, overseeing the staff who carry out the commission’s work.

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(Reach Amy Dalrymple at 701-250-8267 or Amy.Dalrymple@bismarcktribune.com)

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