The following is copy of an email I just sent out to 150 sportsmen and women in Vermont:
Call for Action:
1) The House Appropriations committee is taking up the Fish and Wildlife Department's budget this week. I contains cuts to two positions. Neither position will save the State General fund any money. It appears at least in part the Department is being a good soldier for the Governors push to reduce the number of state employees. Although I have no interest in taking away the Commissioners authority to manage his Department, this appears to be beyond that.
Please read the below reasons and if you agree contact your local representative and the chair of the appropriations committee and urge them to restore these two critical positions.
Two positions slated to be cut: 1) Conservation Planning Biologist (Jens
Hilke) - works with dozens of towns and hundreds of municipal officials
on fish and wildlife issues; and 2) Landowner Incentive Program
Coordinator (Jane Lazorchak) - works with hundreds of willing landowners
on habitat acquisitions to protect wildlife and enhance public access to
* Sportsmen and conservationists work closely with the department as a
partner on a number of fish and wildlife projects designed to implement
the department's many wildlife plans - big game, non-game, and the State
Wildlife Action Plan. Mr. Hilke is the project lead on may of these
projects and the loss of this position will have a negative impact on
the department's ability to carry out its core functions.
* The department has a rich history of wildlife habitat conservation
through acquisition of priority parcels from willing sellers. Ms.
Lazorchak drives this work for the department and the loss of this
position will have a negative impact on the department’s ability to
protect Vermont’s priority wildlife habitats.
* 75% of salary and benefit costs of these positions are paid by
federal funds. 25% are paid by state funds.
* The amount of State funds involved in total is approximately $41,000
* These cuts will not result in a savings of any general fund or other
Sate dollars. The State dollars involved are generated by the sale of
hunting, fishing, and trapping dollars. By law, these dollars must be
spent by the fish and wildlife department for purposes related to its
mission. They may not revert to the general fund nor may they be
reallocated to other departments.
* The department has several other options, including not hiring (two
to three) seasonal employees, which will save more money and not put on
going department staff, projects and programs at risk.
* If these two cuts are occur, the department will loose access to and
the ability to fully spend out specially earmarked federal monies (for
example there is $600,000 in Landowner Incentive Program funds which are
awaiting allocation and will go unspent).
* Cutting these positions will leave federal money on the table and
further hinder the department's efforts to insure that private land will
be open for public hunting and recreation access.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
Heath of Westford, *Chair*
Heath, Martha, Westford, VT
Larson of Burlington, *Vice Chair*
Helm of Castleton, *Ranking Member*
Acinapura of Brandon
Crawford of Burke
Johnson of South Hero, *Clerk*
Keenan of St. Albans City
Manwaring of Wilmington
Miller of Shaftsbury
Minter of Waterbury
Winters of Williamstown.
email and home phone numbers available here or http://www.leg.state.vt.us/lms/legdir/alpha.asp?Body=H
2) Also scheduled is a hearing on H.243 in the House Ways and Means committee. this bill is endorsed by the NRA, the Fish and Wildlife Dept and most hunting related groups in VT.
for more visit my blog:
is it time for vermont's apprentice hunting effort?
WISCONSIN'S MENTORED HUNTING LAW HITS THE TARGET
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
8:30 AM H. 243 - An act relating to the creation of an apprentice hunting license
Michael O'Grady, Legislative Counsel, Legislative Council
Rep. Michael J. Obuchowski, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Janet Ancel, Vice Chair
Rep. Carolyn Whitney Branagan, Ranking Member
Rep. Alison H. Clarkson, Clerk
Rep. Jim Condon
Rep. Adam Greshin
Rep. Steve Howard
Rep. William F. Johnson
Rep. Jim Masland
Rep. Dave Sharpe
Rep. David Zuckerman
It is critical for both of these bills that you contact the committee chairs. Send and email or call the Sargent of Arms (802- 828-2228) and leave a short message saying in the case of H243 that you support and for the FWD budget you oppose the position cuts. Please call or email today as the cross over deadline is this Friday.
Thanks for caring,