Ericksen is out of the EPA. He says the work done there will benefit his constituents

State Sen. Doug Ericksen’s temporary job with the Environmental Protection Agency has ended and, at least for now, so has his employment with the federal government.

In January, the Ferndale Republican accepted the appointment from President Donald Trump to serve as communications director for the EPA transition team.

The 120-day post ended May 20.

Ericksen had two jobs for a while, saying then he could fly back and forth, expressing confidence he could keep up with what was going on in his committees in Olympia while he was in Washington, D.C.

“It was an honor to be selected by the president to serve on the EPA transition team. Working on this transition was a great experience. The people of the 42nd Legislative District and the people of Washington state will benefit from the work that was done,” Ericksen said in a statement to The Bellingham Herald.

He was being considered for a job as the regional administrator of the EPA’s Pacific Northwest office in Seattle, the New York Times wrote in March.

But Ericksen said he never publicly expressed interest in a specific position with the Trump Administration, although he would consider one if it was offered.

The EPA’s Pacific Northwest region is comprised of Washington state, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. It is being led by an acting regional administrator.

Ericksen faced criticism for his dual roles.

A group of voters in his 42nd District launched a recall effort, insisting he wasn’t adequately doing his job as a state senator while also working in Washington, D.C. A Whatcom County Superior Court judge dismissed the petition in March, ruling there were insufficient grounds for the recall effort to continue.

Ericksen also maintained during his tenure that he didn’t know how much he was being paid for his temporary EPA job, even though public records of his paychecks showed it was $77.58 an hour – equivalent to an annual salary of $161,900.

Those records also showed he worked full-time or nearly full-time for the first month of his EPA job.

He continued to take his state Senate salary of $45,474 a year.

The Legislature is in its second special session as lawmakers wrangle over the state budget, and Ericksen said he was currently focused on that.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea

Related stories from Bellingham Herald