William E. Rinne, a 28-year Bureau of Reclamation veteran, has been named the bureau's acting commissioner. Rinne's appointment was announced on April 14, on the retirement of Commissioner John W. Keys. Rinne will be in charge of the bureau until a permanent successor to Keys is nominated and confirmed.

Rinne has had long career at Reclamation (Photo courtesy of Bureau of Reclamation)

Rinne, a Nebraska native, has been Reclamation's deputy commissioner and director of operations since 2003. Before that, he was deputy director of its Lower Colorado Region, based in Nevada. He has spent his entire federal career at the bureau.

Keys, who had announced his departure in March, had an even longer tenure than Rinne at Reclamation, serving 39 years there, including five as commissioner. Keys is returning to Utah to spend time with his family, bureau officials said.

Rinne has a bachelor's degree in biology from Peru State College in Peru, Neb. and a master's degree in zoology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Reclamation is part of the Interior Dept., Rinne was named to his new post by Acting Secretary P. Lynn Scarlett. Scarlett, the deputy secretary, has been the department's acting chief since March 31, when Gale Norton left the post.

President Bush has nominated Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne to succeed Norton as secretary, but Kempthorne has not yet had a Senate confirmation hearing.