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Fish & Game defends demotion of Parrish

Fish and Game officials informed state employees on Aug. 4 that David Parrish of Jerome would no longer serve as regional supervisor for the area, which covers the eight counties in south-central Idaho. Parrish had been in the position for eight years. The decision came one month after the Times-News printed a letter Parrish wrote in response to an editorial endorsing the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm project. After discussing the letter with Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, Idaho House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, contacted Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter with the concern that Parrish had violated the governor's office's media policy.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials have defended their decision to demote the Magic Valley regional supervisor despite concern over what some saw as political interference by legislators.

Fish and Game officials informed state employees on Aug. 4 that David Parrish of Jerome would no longer serve as regional supervisor for the area, which covers the eight counties in south-central Idaho. Parrish had been in the position for eight years.

The decision came one month after the Times-News printed a letter Parrish wrote in response to an editorial endorsing the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm project. After discussing the letter with Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, Idaho House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, contacted Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter with the concern that Parrish had violated the governor's office's media policy.

In his letter, Parrish wrote that the project might benefit the economy but "will have negative repercussions on Idaho's wildlife." He closed his letter, "Let the bureaucratic process work before passing judgment on whether the project is good for Idaho or Twin Falls County."

Parrish wasn't the first to write letters while serving as a... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials have defended their decision to demote the Magic Valley regional supervisor despite concern over what some saw as political interference by legislators.

Fish and Game officials informed state employees on Aug. 4 that David Parrish of Jerome would no longer serve as regional supervisor for the area, which covers the eight counties in south-central Idaho. Parrish had been in the position for eight years.

The decision came one month after the Times-News printed a letter Parrish wrote in response to an editorial endorsing the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm project. After discussing the letter with Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, Idaho House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, contacted Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter with the concern that Parrish had violated the governor's office's media policy.

In his letter, Parrish wrote that the project might benefit the economy but "will have negative repercussions on Idaho's wildlife." He closed his letter, "Let the bureaucratic process work before passing judgment on whether the project is good for Idaho or Twin Falls County."

Parrish wasn't the first to write letters while serving as a supervisor. The Lewiston Tribune counted at least two letters from current Fish and Game Director Cal Groen during his time as regional supervisor there. Both were written in response to criticism of the department by other letter writers, and don't quite match the tone of Parrish's letter.

The main difference may just have been that Groen's bosses knew what he did ahead of time. Anything in Groen's letters that addressed policy issues was reviewed and approved by his superiors, said Mike Keckler, Fish and Game communications director.

"When discussing policy matters, it is important that the chain of command within Fish and Game be notified," Keckler said Friday, speaking in general about letters to the editor. "I think any organization would operate in a similar fashion."

Fish and Game officials have maintained that Otter and other lawmakers had nothing to do with the decision.

Parrish had butted heads on occasion with ranchers in the area, one example coming over rehabilitation plans for the area burned by the Murphy Complex Fire last summer. Parrish was opposed to some limitations that the ranchers sought, recalled Mike Guerry of Castleford.

"We did get a little bit at loggerheads," Guerry said. "But we were eventually able to work through it."

Guerry is one of the private land developers involved with the China Mountain wind project.

Parrish's is being temporarily replaced by Fred Partridge, a nearly 30-year Fish and Game veteran who served as the Magic Valley Region fisheries manager for a number of years. Partridge is only serving as an interim supervisor, Keckler said, and a search for candidates is in the works.

Parrish now has Partridge's former job as resident fishery coordinator for the state, overseeing fish that have been brought in from elsewhere, Keckler said.


Source: http://www.magicvalley.com/...

AUG 16 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/16554-fish-game-defends-demotion-of-parrish
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