VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) -- Republican state Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver was picked Wednesday to become Clark County's director of environmental services.

The Columbian reports Benton was chosen by two Republican commissioners, David Madore and Tom Mielke, over the objection of Democratic Commissioner Steve Stuart who accused them of political cronyism.

The Republicans said they needed to bypass typical hiring practices because they needed to fill the position quickly and it was unlikely a better candidate could be found.

Madore said Benton could help the county become friendlier to job creators.

The position has been vacant since February when the previous director announced his retirement. He was paid $118,000 a year.

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