DNR Scientist Cuts Bigger Than Predicted?

Walker's budget could also cut LTE staff in DNR's science bureau.

Gov. Scott Walker at the executive residence, Dec. 30, 2014. Photo by Kate Golden/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Gov. Scott Walker at the executive residence, Dec. 30, 2014. Photo by Kate Golden/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed cuts to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources scientists could extend beyond what budget documents have portrayed. A state law requires that before the DNR can lay off a single permanent staffer, it must let go any limited-term employees or probationary employees with the same job classification.

The governor has proposed to cut 66 positions from the agency, 18.4 of them research scientists from the Bureau of Science Services.

Agency spokesman Bill Cosh confirmed that the DNR notified LTEs who were at risk, but he did not answer questions about how many people the proposed cuts could affect, or how the cuts would affect research.

The science bureau relies heavily upon limited-term employees as a money-saving measure; they do not qualify for tenure, paid holidays, sick leave or vacations. They are considered temporary, but some have worked there for more than 10 years.

According to numbers DNR furnished the Legislative Fiscal Bureau in early May, the science bureau has 95 LTEs — 41 classified as senior research scientists and eight as advanced research scientists. Another 33 are technicians.

George Meyer, a former DNR secretary who now is executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, said the DNR asked the state Department of Administration for an exemption from the LTE termination rule — but was denied.

Cosh did not answer questions attempting to confirm the exemption and obtain related documents.

Layoffs are not certain even if the cuts go through, because people with cut positions may apply for other jobs within the agency, or “bump” less senior staffers and take their jobs.

Cosh said the DNR is working with the at-risk staff “to avoid layoffs.”

Helen Sarakinos of the River Alliance of Wisconsin said the DNR administration has so far failed to explain how the science will continue, for instance whether “at risk” scientists will be offered science positions in other divisions.

“Who is going to do the work? They’re not answering that, and they’re certainly not behaving as if they’re intending to protect the capacity to do that work,” she said.

Categories: Politics

14 thoughts on “DNR Scientist Cuts Bigger Than Predicted?”

  1. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    we had better hunting and fishing, with less problems, before we had thousands of new rules that get people fined and these scientists in the of Conservation Dept. We do not need them, they are an expensive appendage.

  2. M says:

    If the DNR is unneeded, why do hunters and anglers vocally oppose these cuts, especially the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation?

    These scientists help protect all natural resources, including deer populations and rivers and streams. Slashing DNR and zeroing out funding for state parks will ultimately damage tourism, a key Wisconsin industry and one essential to northern parts of the state.

    Devastating once-precious natural resources will kill the goose that lays golden eggs in the state.

  3. David says:

    Stunning stupidity by Walker and the least educated legislature in modern history. They have an iron-clad belief in political theology and do not want to be confused and informed with knowledge and facts.

    This is what you get with fools, incompetence, and corruption managing government.

  4. PMD says:

    Yes scientists in a conservation department are so useless. Like teachers at a university. Or police officers in a police department. Useless appendages all.

  5. David says:

    Walker was recently seen bragging about 2014 tourism bringing in $17 Billion and a new record for Wisconsin. So what does he do but see if we can now kill that golden goose. Fools and idiots in government along with their supporters. They are the enemy of all decent working Wisconsin citizens.

  6. Wis Conservative Digest says:

    Did not say DNR was useless but the Conservation dept should never have been merged into this behemoth DNR. Bob Huber who was Assembly Speaker at the time, told me that was the only vote he would take back. The old conservation dept worked well cause it was populated by outdoors people, hunters fishermen not a bunch of eco nuts, Global warming fools. Global Warming nuts, why is lake Michigan back up after telling us for years it was down cause of Global warming? WWF is bunch of lefties. not outdoorsmen. We do not need those scientists, they produce nothing. People in the field know far better. For years we had some kid scientist sitting at a computer setting all of those nutty deer seasons so that we shot out deer in NE and made mess all around state including brining in diseases. Get rid of them, put money into conservation instead, stream rehab, more walleyes, more wetlands.

  7. PMD says:

    So is the Conservation Department entirely staffed by “eco nuts” now? You do realize that it’s more than just tree huggers who believe global warming is real right? What does the WWF have to do with Wisconsin’s DNR?

  8. David says:

    People spend their lives learning science and ecology and how it is of benefit to us all. Just as a policeman, pharmacist, doctor, teacher, plumber, nurse, etc. learn their craft through formal education, conferences, workshops, and on the job training. Educated people in all forms and application of knowledge and facts for rational solutions make us a better society and community. We do not always heed the knowledge gained and allow idiots and fools like Walker and his cronies, and Koch trolls, gain the upper hand with propaganda, lies, and deceit. DNR scientists have spent their lives gaining knowledge of our Wisconsin environment and managing it for the betterment of all.

    Walker, his cronies, and the Koch trolls are the enemy of hard working decent people that expect honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness from governance.

  9. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    I respect science and have done so fro 60 years but figures do not lie but lairs figure. Garbage in, garbage out. I have not see any good ideas from these guys that were better than the ones we had when in scouts planting trees, building wood duck hours, cleaning up trout streams. Money better spent elsewhere.
    Lok at the Global warming nuts have been wrong sll the time cause what they put into computers came out wrong and it is obvious.

  10. PMD says:

    Let’s put the Boy Scouts in charge of the DNR! Brilliant!

    You respect science but believe global warming is a hoax! Priceless.

  11. David says:

    DWC is a Koch troll usually spewing nonsense, deceit, innuendo, and never has facts to back up anything. Like Walker, 0% credibility rating.

    Also, DWC is an enemy of hard working decent people, just like Walker.

  12. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Who is DWC? Want to meet them. Good change from the fools that are on this site. All they do is speak talking points, never any answers to all the problems that they have created.

  13. David says:

    WCD, please excuse the error with DWC. The WCD is one of the Koch/Walker sucking trolls trying to hide out as real news comment.

  14. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    funny, never get any money from Walker and little from AFP, but lots from secret sources that also give money to Clinton Foundation, Soros, Steyer, Microsoft etc. But do not tell anyone.

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