Florida FWC Votes to Appoint New Executive Director

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) ended its session on Wednesday by voting to appoint Nick Wiley, assistant executive director, to the position of executive director when Ken Haddad, current director, retires in December.

Haddad made the official announcement of his retirement on Monday and discussions of his retirement and replacement took place at the meeting in Crystal River. As the session drew to a close at 7 p.m., Commissioner Kenneth Wright made a motion to appoint Wiley to the top position of the FWC.

All seven commissioners voiced their support for the motion to select Wiley and praised his leadership and consensus-building abilities.

"This is not a 'spur of the moment' decision," said Rodney Barreto, FWC chairman. "I do believe going through a long, drawn-out process of selection wouldn't be beneficial to the agency. And I doubt we would come away with a different result even if we do go through a process. The mere fact that this is unanimous should give everyone comfort."

Commissioner Brian Yablonski echoed this sentiment. "Why drag out this process? Why create uncertainty within the agency? We have a great candidate and we should just do it."

Wiley, 47, began his career with the former Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission in 1988. He moved his way up the ranks and was named assistant executive director in 2008.

Wiley said, "I am rarely speechless, but I'm close right now. I love this agency. I can't talk about it without getting emotional. I would be honored to accept the position."

Wiley's appointment as executive director will now go to the Florida Senate for confirmation.

In a letter to Commissioners, Haddad wrote, "I appreciate the honor you have bestowed on me by allowing me to have served as executive director for almost eight years."

He assured the Commission and staff that he would remain fully engaged up until his very last day on the job, and even in retirement he plans to remain active in the fish and wildlife arena in some way.

"I am very excited about the Commission's decision," Haddad said after the vote. "Nick is the perfect person and the Commission made a wise decision. I look forward to working with him for the next six months, and I know that Nick has the capability to take this agency to new heights of success.