Turns out, governor will create a council

The message, when it finally came, was humorously misleading. I
wondered afterward if somebody in the governor’s office had a
devious sense of humor – perhaps Tom Corbett himself. They really
had us going!

But I think more likely it was just a clumsy effort to let
sportsmen know the administration had, at long last, realized it
needed to empanel a sportsmen’s advisory council. We had been
inquiring about the issue for months.

The panel – which Gov. Ed Rendell’s administration called its
Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation – will help
Corbett and his advisors choose board members for the Pennsylvania
Game and Fish & Boat commissions. Tom Ridge was the first
Keystone State governor to create such a group to advise him.

The effort comes just in time, too, because each of those
agencies now has two vacancies or expired terms that should be
filled immediately, and more will be coming. Still, it was funny
(or pathetic, you decide) how the Corbett administration kicked off
its search for advisory council members.

The executive assistant to Corbett’s deputy chiefs of staff on
Dec. 15, 2011 sent an e-mail to leaders of the Pennsylvania
Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, the Unified Sportsmen of
Pennsylvania, United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania
Quality Deer Management Association and the Pennsylvania Forest
Products Association, among others, about an upcoming “Deer
Management Stakeholders Meeting.”

Now that had us all buzzing! Speculation was rampant that
Corbett had decided to weigh in on the still-raging deer debate (I
had trouble believing he would be foolish enough to do that …)
Some even declared that the governor, like his Republican
counterpart in Wisconsin, Scott Walker, had decided to get to the
bottom of this controversy, siding with critics of the Game
Commission’s deer program.

But, alas, it’s not true.

Even though the note to sportsmen’s groups said, “The Governor’s
Office is convening a meeting with stakeholders on the issue of
deer management,” the Dec. 21 session turned out to be only about
creating a committee to advise Corbett on sportsmen’s issues and to
screen and choose finalists for commissioners’ seats.

The note also promised this about the meeting: “While discussion
on the issue is welcome, the meeting is primarily intended to
update the stakeholders on the administration’s response to this
issue after careful consideration of what has been presented to us
verbally and in writing from the stakeholders over the last 10-11
months.”

Maybe that is still coming, we’ll see …

Categories: Pennsylvania – Jeff Mulhollem

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