- Associated Press - Friday, January 3, 2020

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The head of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality says he is leaving his job this month.

Gary Rikard announced his plans Friday, becoming the latest of several state agency directors to depart with the transition from one governor to the next.

Rikard’s last day on the job will be Jan. 13. That is the day before Tate Reeves is inaugurated to succeed fellow Republican Phil Bryant as governor.

Rikard has led the environmental agency since September 2014. He worked there in the 1990s as an environmental engineer and attorney. He then practiced law in the private sector.

“I want to thank Gov. Bryant for the opportunity and privilege to lead the agency that has meant so much to me,” Rikard said in a statement. “The past five years have been some of the most enjoyable of my life. I have such great respect and admiration for the MDEQ staff, and the friendships that I have made will be lifelong. I have truly enjoyed coming to work.”

Governors typically replace several state agency directors when they take office. Among those departing are the public safety commissioner, the corrections commissioner and the director of Mississippi Development Authority.

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