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|From Jeff Frischkorn’s blog regarding the ODNR debacle...
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|Author:||Aaron [ Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:28 am ]|
|Post subject:||From Jeff Frischkorn’s blog regarding the ODNR debacle...|
“Government must be a transparent garment which tightly clings to the peoples’ body.” - German dramatist Karl Georg Buchner
Even the best of magicians might be impressed with the illusions being offered up by the Kasich Administration as tooled to fine detail by Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer.
At virtually every turn Zerhringer and his cadre of acolytes have systematically disassembled the department, reducing some units to husks of their former selves and obliterating morale.
Similarly, Zerhringer has failed in his duty to appoint and work with advisory, consulting and over-seeing boards, commissions and councils.
At the same time Zehringer appears to have attached the Natural Resources Department’s star to a largely unknown and unseen (roughly) 40-person “ad hoc” committee. This group has long operated under the radar without government oversight and away from public view.
Indeed, a look at the email list of the ad hoc committee’s members demonstrates very little in the way of hunting- or fishing-associated group representation. Just the opposite, with representation by forest, farming, agricultural and other interests all gathering themselves together from time-to-time though no one outside of the body knows when that time-to-time shows up on the calendar. Or even where or why.
No question, Zehringer and his politically appointed staff have made a mess of things. But like the emperor strutting confidently through his kingdom, Zehringer believes that his new clothes are admired by his subjects. Of course, they are not.
All of this is happening even while Zehringer has failed to appoint a single person to a five-member panel charged by the Ohio General Assembly several years ago to provide scientific advice on how to operate the state’s natural areas and preserves. No one has ever been appointed and no council has ever met.
Zehringer’s back-benching placement of other legally established advisory boards does not end there, either. An advisory group that was tossed a life jacket at the final moment by the Ohio General Assembly is the remnants of the once noteworthy and effective advisory Waterways Safety Council. At last report the five-person council is really just a trifecta board that exists somewhere within the refried Division of Parks and Watercraft.
Of course the greatest plum that Zehringer and his people covet is the Division of Wildlife. In this bailiwick of more than passing interest to hunters, anglers and trappers, Zehringer also has demonstrated a knack for ignoring history and protocol.
On January 31st the valued contributions of Ohio Wildlife Council members Charlie Frank and Dr. Larry Mixon ended when their terms expired. Typically, individuals to this eight-member council (which is legislatively mandated to review and approve proposed fish and game laws) are either reappointed or shortly thereafter, replaced.
To date, however, Zehringer has done neither; perhaps signaling and sealing the reappointment or replacement fate of Wildlife Council members Tom Vorisek and Eric Hirzel. Their terms expire January 31st 2018 and their future with the council is very possibly a non-starter.
Nor can it be lost regarding the way Zehringer has turned the Wildlife Division into a farm team for the agency’s sibling entities. Over the summer a seemingly and almost unceasing display of shuffling highly qualified Wildlife Division staffers to other Departmental entities occurred. Without – importantly – even bothering to ask the employees if they wanted the transfers.
In effect, Zehringer ordered his version of the French Foreign Legion’s unofficial slogan “march or die.” Either the expected transferring man or woman went along with the switch or else be shown the nearest exit and the address of the nearest unemployment office.
Of course, in the case of former Wildlife Division chief Ray Petering his options were pared down to none: His unceremonious exodus came unexpectedly (for him, anyway) when he walked into Zehringer’s office just one day after the July 4th holiday.
Petering was then ousted, his replacement all ready named, present and accounted for in the bodily form of Mike Miller.
All in spite of Zehringer pretty much saying not all that long before that Petering was in essence going to be the Wildlife Division’s Moses that would lead the agency into the promised land of solvency and efficiency.
And so we are here and the there remains one very large and looming question-mark. The Natural Resources Department’s permanent residents are punch-drunk. They are unsure of what eventually will become not only of the department but just as vital for them, their jobs.
Alas, that uncertainty is made even more manifest by Zehringer’s orders to keep the blinds closed and post the doors with “no solicitation” signs against the public from inquiring just what the heck is happening behind the fence-moat at Fountain Square.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
|Author:||Cruiser [ Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:25 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: From Jeff Frischkorn’s blog regarding the ODNR debacle..|
Do you have a direct Link to this article?
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