BISMARCK — The North Dakota Ethics Commission offered its executive director position to a man with a long history of military service at a special meeting on Thursday, Dec. 19.
David Thiele, 60, worked as a judge advocate for the U.S. Army before returning to his home state and joining the North Dakota National Guard, where he served as a lawyer and top administrator. The recently retired Bismarck resident told the commission he would consult his family before deciding whether to accept the job.
Thiele would be the commission's first full-time employee if he takes the offer. Chairman Ron Goodman told Forum News Service earlier this month the commission wants a director who would take on an active leadership role and help guide the board through the uncertainties that lie ahead. In the immediate, Goodman said the director would help the commission draft administrative rules and begin investigating complaints.
Thiele said he applied for the position because he thought he was a "good fit" because of his legal background and experience implementing ethical considerations. Evidently, the board thought so too because all five commissioners mentioned that Thiele scored higher on their evaluation than all the other candidates.
Thiele said he has been observing the commission's work since it first met in September and sees opportunities to work through some of the legal and administrative issues facing the commission.
"A key part of this is going to be working with all the interested parties — the Legislature, lobbyists, North Dakotans for Public Integrity and the citizens of North Dakota — to help the commission move forward and establish a program that everybody has confidence in," Thiele said. "I think I can help them do that."
The commission's offer to Thiele includes a $115,000 salary, which Goodman said is close to the most it can offer for the position. Thiele noted it would be a significantly less pay than the position he recently left, but he said he would get back to the board with an answer quickly.
The commission was also considering Joe Camisa, a supervisor of commercial services at North Guaranty and Title Co. in Mandan. He is former park ranger at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Voters approved the establishment of the commission last year despite pushback from a Republican-led legislature. Gov. Doug Burgum and Senate majority and minority leaders selected the five-member commission to oversee the conduct of lobbyists, state officials, lawmakers and candidates.