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HELENA - Ed Tinsley, a former Lewis and Clark county commissioner once considered a top pick for Montana's federally appointed U.S. marshal, has been tapped to head Montana's Disaster and Emergency Services Division.

Tinsley withdrew his name from consideration for U.S. marshal to pursue other jobs, after the White House has failed to nominate a federal marshal for Montana almost 18 months into President Barack Obama's term.

"At the beginning of it, it was a very exciting process," Tinsley said Monday. "It kind of got less exciting as time wore on. I just couldn't keep myself and my family in limbo."

Tinsley said he was "excited, extremely excited" about his new job.

U.S. marshals are nominated by the president after recommendations from the state's U.S. senators and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. They oversee federal arrests, transportation of federal prisoners and other federal law enforcement duties.

The state's last U.S. marshal, Dwight MacKay, was nominated by Republican President George W. Bush in 2001. MacKay retired last month after serving more than eight years in the post.

Obama has not yet named MacKay's replacement.

So far, the White House has been slow to act on nominating marshals in many parts of the country. Only 13 marshals of the nation's 94 have been confirmed and sworn in since Obama took office in January 2009.

Tinsley, a Democratic super-delegate at the party's 2008 nominating convention in Denver, was the first of Montana's super-delegates to publicly support Obama over then Sen. Hilary Clinton in the bitterly contented Democratic presidential primary.

He was one of seven people publicly identified as in the running for the marshal position in the early spring of 2009 and the only candidate invited to Washington, D.C., for an interview. But after more than a year, Tinsley said earlier this month that the excitement over serving as U.S. marshal "turned into the doldrums."

He is currently working as an investigator with the Montana Department of Labor.

Tinsley's new job is not a politically appointed position. He was hired by a three-person selection committee, which included a representative of the governor's office, to replace outgoing DES Director Ken Mesch.

Tinsley begins his new job May 24 at a salary of $74,201 a year.

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