Hi all,

If anyone is following the WDF&W budget bit this is interesting. If you do not follow it your missing a bunch of interesting stuff. So this link is to a Senate hearing and go to around minute 53 to see Director Unsworth testifying. Now that is a brutal exchange or two! https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2017011402

For whatever reason the Director was running with a presentation that had been prepared for him that was just a standard WDF&W roll out. Standard agency slant that has worked in the past but the thing is the little dust up with the senate is two years old. Remember the we used up reserves bit?

So round two but I do not know enough to fine tune a argument pro or con around it. For the senate bit the agency always operates in a emergency mode moving from issue to issue. Thing is government is system oriented. By that I mean go clear through a process ( NOF as a example ) terrible results, crap flying but in the end if the process worked fine regardless of the outcome. Private sector is results orientated and whatever your process if the end result was a product incomplete or non marketable your history in a NY minute.

Two different standards & two different outcomes which still work as long as you can afford it. That is the rub as WDF&W cannot function as it has in the past going forward and they have zero and I mean zero idea of how to be results orientated.

To add to it the following is a bit from Senator Pearson followed by Director Unsworth internal memo on the subject. Hardball time I think.

Senate budget protects hatcheries, begins Fish and Wildlife turnaround
March 21, 2017

The release of the Senate budget proposal today marks the beginning of a positive turnaround of the troubled Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The budget provides safeguards for crucial agency functions, such as hatcheries, while initiating the rebuilding of an agency in crisis.

Agency management recently revealed to legislative leaders a significant budget shortfall. Because of this, a major hunting and fishing license fee increase plan was proposed by WDFW to increase agency revenue.

“The agency wanted to correct this by initiating a hefty increase in hunting and fishing license fees without the promise for more opportunities,” said Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee.

Pearson received hundreds of letter in opposition to WDFW’s fee increase proposal from across the state. “The problem is not a money problem, it’s a leadership problem,” said Pearson. The Senate budget provides $5 million from the general fund to protect hatcheries and core agency functions while bringing in outside performance and management support.

“It’s important that we provide stability to the agency while we begin a much-needed overhaul that will help protect and grow the state’s hunting and fishing opportunities,” said Pearson. “This budget keeps the core of the agency in place while we correct the past problems that placed the agency in this situation and help them get on stronger footing.”
The budget proposal also provides funding for an outside consultant to identify and fix management and organizational issues while running a zero-based budget exercise to address ongoing budget issues.

“This budget for WDFW reflects the needs of an agency in crisis,” said Pearson. “Dwindling fish populations, diseased and scattered wildlife and animal conflict problems have set back the WDFW’s mission over the past few years. By giving them the tools they need to be successful, we can protect and grow hunting and fishing opportunities both now and in the future.”

Now next is what I am told is a WDF&W internal memo that was going to go public and likely was intended with the wide dispersion of the e mail.
PDR Response (DFW)

From: Sent: Subject:
Unsworth, James W (DFW) Wednesda,yMarch 22, 2017 2:15 PM Senate budget

Director Unsworth
To all WDFW staff:

Yesterday you received a message from Joe Stohr that described the legislative budget development process and timetable. Within an hour or two, the chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Sen. John Braun, released his budget proposal, which received a public hearing yesterday afternoon.

Also yesterday, we received a news reiease in support of Senator Braun's proposal iss•ued by one of his colleagues, Sen. Kirk Pearson, chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee.

Senator Braun's proposal contains a few positive elements, including a $5 million one-time increase and $1.5 million for wildlife conflict transformation, both from the State General Fund. But overall, it would not enable us to continue current service levels.

It's important for us to recognize that this proposal represents just one early step in the budget development process. While it presents significant challenges, we are used to responding to budget proposals that require revision.

However, the release from Senator Pearson is in some ways more concerning.

Without citing any evidence, it describes WDFW as an "agency in crisis." It calls into question our performance and claims that we have proposed large license fee increases "without the promise for more opportunities."

In fact, all of our hunting and fishing license fee proposals were developed to ensure the department has the funding needed to maintain and expand commercial and recreational opportunities in the future. It is simply wrong to suggest otherwise.

This agency has made remarkable strides in recovering from the deep cuts imposed by the Legislature following the Great Recession. We've never fully recovered the lost funding, but through your efforts we have made performance improvements in every area of our operation.

When I meet with you and travel around the state to see your efforts and that of our many partners, I am continually struck by your commitment to the people and resources of this state. You make critically important contributions to our economy, the health of our communities, and to our identity as Washingtonians.

Of course there's always room for improvement, which is one of the primary reasons we initiated the Wild Future initiative. And some of the one-time funding proposed by Senator Braun might make it possible for us to conduct targeted performance reviews, such as an efficiency evaluation of our hatchery operations.

We know the state faces a very difficult budget challenge, and that some spending cuts are quite possible. But it's not right to justify budget cuts by criticizing the people who deliver important services.

I want to assure you that we will continue to talk to the Legislature, the Governor, and the residents of our state in the days and weeks to come.
Sincerely, Jim

PS: You can stay informed by referring to the resources available on the Wild Future information page on the Staff Communications SharePoint site. Use this link to set the Staff Comm

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