Ecology official who sees citizens as prey can keep his job


OFF THE MARK: A Washington state officials who compared citizens to prey is going to keep his job.

By Melissa Genson |

Washington Department of Ecology’s Ben Penhale, who compares citizens to a hunter’s prey, can keep his job, benefits and authority, the department says.

The brouhaha started on Dec. 7, 2012, when Penhale was asked to clarify regulatory jurisdiction to San Juan County Planner Colin Maycock.

Instead, he wrote a bizarre, rambling email where he discussed his political opinions and personal beliefs. He then called a law-abiding landowner a “crafty adversary” who would try to break the law and damage his own property.

Penhale offered no evidence to suggest the landowner would do anything like that, but that didn’t stop him from continuing his attack.

“I will offer that we must find joy in the hunt, and that the crafty old bucks are the most satisfying to harvest,” Penhale wrote.

Maycock quickly responded.

“I would like to stress that San Juan County staff are not and have never been interested in ‘hunting’ the citizens and rather resent the implication that we ‘target’ individuals for code enforcement actions,” Maycock wrote

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