State Conservation Commissioner Resigns Amid Governor’s Turnover

After six years in the position, Gunter N. Guy Jr. has resigned as commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Chris Blankenship has been named Acting Commissioner. Blankenship was the department’s Marine Resources Director for six years until being promoted to Assistant Commissioner in March 2017. No public announcement was made by Gov. Kay Ivey’s office about the resignation. Guy’s last day was May 26. His background and contact information were removed from the ADCNR website Friday.

Gunter Guy is out as Alabama’s commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources after a little more than six years in the position.

Ivey became governor in April after the scandal-plagued terms and eventual resignation of her predecessor, Robert Bentley. She immediately requested resignations of staff and department heads as part of a review, which is common during transitions. Department heads are appointed by the governor, and may be changed for any reason at any time.

Ivey’s communications director, Joshua M. Pendergrass, confirmed the departure to Deer & Deer Hunting via email Monday with this statement: “Mr. Guy’s resignation as Conservation Commissioner has been accepted as part of Governor Ivey’s continued review of all cabinet officers. The agency is being led by acting Commissioner Blankenship, and a new permanent Commissioner will be named in the coming days.”

Guy is a longtime attorney in Montgomery, the state capitol, and was appointed by Bentley in January 2011. Ivey, like Bentley, is a Republican.

Bentley’s terms as governor were plagued by scandal due to numerous allegations of involvement with a married aide, abuse of his office and misuse of state funds. Amid impeachment hearings in a state legislature committee, Bentley reached a plea agreement before resigning in April 2017.

Guy replaced Barnett Lawley as commissioner; Lawley served as commissioner for eight years during the two terms of Republican Gov. Bob Riley. Several names of possible replacements for Guy as DCNR commissioner have been rumored but are unconfirmed.