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Ohio geologist demoted for excluding boss

Published: Wed, June 13, 2012 @ 2:20 p.m.

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio’s veteran state geologist has been demoted for failing to adequately vet work with his politically appointed boss, including a new map of the Utica shale formation rich with oil and gas.

A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said Larry Wickstrom lost his position leading the Ohio Division of Geological Survey on May 9. He remains a department employee.

A copy of Wickstrom’s quarterly review released by the department today says Wickstrom failed to meet repeated requests by ODNR Director James Zehringer to notify and involve the director’s office on “matters that would set or significantly impact state policy.”

Wickstrom’s demotion and the contents of his review were first reported by The Athens News.

A message was left with Wickstrom seeking comment. His record was previously unblemished.


1Ianacek(891 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Larry Wickstrom makes geology understandable to the ordinary person , & seems to bea true public servant; but maybe his bosses prefer more secrecy .There should be more questions asked .

One alternative suggestion for his demotion is alleged embarrasment arising from the state's current antitrust suit about 2 salt companies .

"Wickstrom ignored orders to not engage in direct negotiations with Morton Salt and Cargill about their leases without direction and input from his boss. Both companies have exclusive long-term agreements for the two rock-salt mines in Ohio, both owned by the state. He discussed the lease with Cargill representatives on March 5 and a week later sent the company a letter about lease issues."

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2gwscience1(7 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

It is just so typical for a geologist to be whacked for overlooking political policy implications. Those I know (I know many well and I am one kind of) expect policy and discourse to be fact-based. Larry would look at that memo and say - "Here's the data as I interpret them, deal with it." Or maybe he was just tired of it all.

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