Leavitt Aides to Stay in Jobs

Leavitt Aides to Stay in Jobs

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- Most of Governor Mike Leavitt's agency heads say they plan to stay in their jobs if Leavitt gets the nod as chief of the U-S Environmental Protection Agency.

Lieutenant Governor Olene Walker has asked Leavitt's entire cabinet to stay put while she steps in to finish Leavitt's term until December 2004.

Leavitt is President Bush's choice to take over the E-P-A, but Democrats are stalling the confirmation to protest Bush's environmental policies.

Leavitt eventually is expected to make the switch, probably this fall.

Among the aides most likely to follow Leavitt to the E-P-A are chief of staff Rich McKeown and Natalie Gochnour, his official spokeswoman.

Dianne Nielson, who heads the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, also could be leaving.

But others have promised Walker they'll stay.

Those people include Department of Transportation director John Njord; chief information officer Val Oveson; welfare chief Robin Arnold-Williams; agricultural commissioner Cary Peterson and economic development director David Harmer.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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