The Idaho Board of Correction has appointed Henry Atencio as the new director of prisons -- two days after his predecessor, Kevin Kempf, gave his resignation notice.
The Board unanimously appointed Atencio to the position Wednesday.
The Idaho Senate must now ratify Atencio's appointment during the 2017 legislative session.
Atencio has been with the Department for 26 years and has served as the deputy director since 2014. The number two spot was created after Governor "Butch" Otter said he wanted all of his state agencies to have a succession plan in place in case of an unexpected departure.
Atencio's salary will be $145,000 a year -- a slight increase from the $140,000 salary paid to Kempf.
Atencio will formally assume IDOC’s top job on Dec. 16, 2016, the day Kempf’s resignation officially takes effect.
“Henry and I came up through the ranks together, and I know he’s more than ready for this challenge,” Kempf says. “I can say with confidence that Idaho’s correctional department will be in good hands.”
As director, Atencio will oversee the entirety of IDOC’s operations including its nine prisons, four community re-entry centers and seven probation and parole districts. The department has an annual budget of $220 million.
Atencio is a native of Parma and a 1991 graduate of Boise State University. He lives in Canyon County. He and his wife have two teenaged sons.
Kempf announced Monday he was taking a job as the executive director of the Association of State Correctional Administrators.
(Associated Press contributed to this story)