The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission didn’t have to look far for a replacement for longtime Executive Director Nick Wiley. On Thursday they voted to promote assistant director Eric Sutton to the job, starting Friday.
Wiley, who led the agency for eight years, is stepping down to take a job with the environmental group Ducks Unlimited.
Sutton earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology from the University of South Florida. He has worked for the wildlife commission since 2011, first as the director of the division of habitat and endangered species, and then as assistant director since 2013. He previously worked for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, starting in 2005, eventually becoming director of land resources. Before that he held various natural resources management positions for Sarasota County. He will make about $147,000 a year, which was what Wiley was earning.
The commissioners also elected replacements for their chairman and vice chairman. Commissioner Bo Rivard, a Panama City attorney, will replace Commissioner Brian Yablonski as chairman. Yablonski, a Gulf Power lobbyist, is leaving the state to take charge of the Property and Environment Research Center in Montana. Commissioner Robert Spottswood, a Key West hotel builder and attorney, will be the new vice chair, replacing Commissioner Liesa Priddy, an Immokalee rancher who was not reappointed to the commission by Gov. Rick Scott.