Mass retirements no longer looming at MN DNR. They’re here.

Retirements are hitting the Minnesota DNR en masse this month.
Of the DNR’s 2,630 employees in November, 120 have accepted the
state’s 2010 early retirement incentive. That’s better than 41⁄2
percent of the agency’s full-time equivalents, and that doesn’t
include people leaving under normal attrition. Moving these folks
off the state payroll will save tax dollars in the long run, but in
the short run, it’s gotta be one of the largest brain drains in the
history of the agency. Experienced names you’ve read in this
newspaper for years, like Mark Ebbers and Harlan Fierstine in DNR
Fisheries, and Dick Kimmel, who’s led the Madelia research office,
are retiring. Nothing wrong with making room for the next
generation of public servants, but the looming natural resources
retirements you’ve been reading about in Outdoor News the past few
years? They’re here. And given the status of the state budget,
there’s no guarantee that the agency can immediatly fill all those
positions.

I want to offer a special tip of the hat to New Ulm-based DNR
Public Information Officer Tom Conroy, who’s among the 120 early
retirees. He marks his last day on Tuesday, Dec. 21. Outdoor News
readers may recognize Tom’s name for the frequent column he wrote
about DNR projects and priorities in the farmland region. Conroy’s
hunting buddy, C.B. Bylander, a state planner for the DNR, summed
up why his friend in New Ulm was successful in his communications
role.

“Tom has an appealing writing style because he was able to convey
natural resource management in a way that people easily
understood,” Bylander said. “He’s folksy and readable, and that’s a
nice combination you don’t come across a lot.”

A Vietnam vet, Conroy, 63, tells me that he’s looking forward to
enjoying his good health afield, but don’t be surprised to see him
still mixing it up with the written word on the state conservation
scene. Who knows, now that he’s a civilian, maybe we’ll get him
writing for Outdoor News more frequently.

 

Categories: Rob Drieslein

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