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DEC Hatchery Staff

CFAB Correspondence

The following is a web version of the correspondence letter; a PDF version (44kb) is also available to view.

September 23, 2010

Robert L. Megna
Budget Director
New York State Division of Budget
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

RE: NYSDEC Hatchery Staff

Dear Mr. Megna:

As you are likely aware, the Conservation Fund Advisory Board under the Environmental Conservation Law of The State of New York §11-0327 shall make recommendations to state agencies on state government plans, policies, and programs affecting fish and wildlife. This letter is in response to the serious impending shortage of personnel at the NY DEC Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources fish hatcheries.

The operational and staff cost of the fish hatcheries are paid from the Conservation Fund from monies collected from the sale of licenses. No General Fund monies are used to operate the hatcheries. As you are also likely aware the Conservation Fund Advisory Board has the obligation to advise the Governor, Legislature, Commissioner of DEC, and the 1.9 million NY sportsmen and women on matters pertaining to the use of Conservation Fund moneys.

Last October a significant increase in license fees was initiated in order to keep the Conservation Fund solvent for the foreseeable future. As part of the decision making process leading up to the fee increase 1.4 million license buyers in New York State were promised that they would face no reductions in the level of services or program effort associated with the Conservation Fund.

The total authorized staff strength of the hatcheries is 80 persons. After the loss of some of the staff due to the early retirement incentive and staff vacancies the hatchery staff stands at 67.This level of staffing is insufficient to maintain production for stocking of fish into the streams and lakes of New York.

Due to an Office of Budget policy of withholding several million dollars of Conservation Fund dollars and the Governor's policy of not allowing the DEC to fill these vacancies, sportsmen see a decrease in the services for which they have already paid for. In this case, these policies are unfair.

The money to pay for the personnel cost associated with filling these vacancies is on hand. It was taken from the sportsmen and women of New York with the promise that it would be used to maintain the level of services. The 1.4 million sporting license buyers in New York deserve better. These funds should not be held hostage to a policy made in reaction to the state's General Fund shortages.

The Conservation Fund Advisory Board strongly requests and advises that the Office of Budget create waivers and fill the vacancies necessary to fully operate NYSDEC Hatcheries.

Sincerely,
Jason Kemper
Chairman, Conservation Fund Advisory Board

Cc:
Assembly Encon Committee
Senate Encon Committee

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