Picking the Chief

Some hunting and fishing groups want to allow the Natural Resources Board to hire and fire the Department of Natural Resources chief.

This week members of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters pushed an "independent DNR secretary" as one of three priorities at their annual lobbying day at the Capitol.

Since 1995, the governor has had the power to appoint the DNR secretary.

Sportsmen aren't happy that there have been three DNR secretaries since 2001 and that the current secretary and some of his top officials have little agency experience.

But Scott Manley of Wisconsin Manufacturer & Commerce says the DNR has become more responsive because the secretary is answerable to an elected official.

Late last year the Democratic-controlled Senate voted to return control to the board by January 2011. But the Republican-controlled Assembly Natural Resources Committee voted December 19th to give the power to the board immediately.

Governor Doyle has said he will sign the legislation if it gets to his desk.

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