Plymouth, Minn. The Minnesota Waterfowl Association board of
directors voted late Wednesday night, Aug. 27, to fire its
long-time executive director, Mike McGinty.
MWA President Jim Cox would not reveal details of the board’s
vote, including whether or not it was unanimous or split. The
eight-hour meeting went until 3 a.m., and the seven-member board
voted on McGinty who has led the group for nine years at about
midnight, he said.
“This is starting a new chapter in the MWA,” Cox said. “We felt
that we’re going in a new direction and this was an action that had
to be taken.”
Asked for specific reasons behind the board’s action, Cox cited
“poor fiscal management, the inability to keep working relationship
with our conservation partners, and forgery.”
Controversy erupted around the MWA in March following a
Minnesota Office of Legislative Auditor’s report concluding that
the group had improperly administered state grants. The Minnesota
DNR immediately severed its financial ties with MWA and in June,
concluded an extensive audit of the organization.
In April, the MWA board convened and voted 4-2 in a vote of
confidence for McGinty. This summer, several MWA chapters held a
private meeting outside the MWA board, organized a “Chapters For
Change” platform, and recruited candidates for the five board
positions up for re-election in August.
Chapters for Change candidates, including Cox, swept those
elections on Aug. 2, and have held several board meetings since
that time, including two last week. The board held a second meeting
last Thursday to discuss their action on McGinty with other MWA
staff. The board has no plans to release any other office employees
at this time, Cox said.
The MWA currently owes the DNR $49,000 for payments to vendors,
and another $5,000 remains in dispute, Cox said. The organization
intends to reconcile the difference and discrepancies as soon as
possible, he said.
DNR Commissioner Gene Merriam said he met Cox at the Minnesota
Outdoor Heritage Alliance Summit at the Nicollet Conservation Club
on Aug. 13.
Cox described himself as optimistic that the 10,000-member MWA
can right itself financially and eventually restore ties to the
“I’m optimistic that new leadership will provide the management
capabilities and controls necessary so that we can reconnect,” Cox
said last Friday.
Cox said the organization is considering selling the 460-acre
Hoff Slough parcel near the town of Danvers (near Benson in Swift
County) to help right itself financially. The organization is
caught in a tough position, however.
The DNR cannot offer the purchase price that private parties
might, yet both the organization and many citizens in the area
would like to keep it publicly accessible for hunting, Cox
“We’re just working to put it all right and solve the financial
log jam that we have,” he said.