Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Good old boys win at AZ Game & Fish with Voyles
PHOENIX -- As an Arizona hunter and conservationist, I am not happy the Arizona Game and Fish Commission announced yesterday it has hired controversial Larry Voyles as the new director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, effective when current director Duane Shroufe retires in March.
Voyles has been with Game and Fish for nearly 35 years and is currently supervisor for the department's Yuma region, which handles field operations in southwestern Arizona.
Voyles was deeply involved last year in the McPherson Tank cover-up on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and collusion with the Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club to keep the illegal project secret. He has a disdain for wilderness, as does John Hervert, who will likely become the Yuma region supervisor.
Voyles is known to be anti-predator and particularly un-progressive when it comes to wildlife issues. He will be taking his marching orders from the anti-environmental Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club, which too often targets wilderness, cougars, and 'non-game' conservation. They also do not allow women to join, and are stuck in a previous century in many respects.
Disturbing public records obtained by greens last year showed a chain of emails from Voyles regarding development in the Kofa NWR wilderness, and a total lack of regards for the pumas, the refuge, and the people who were concerned about them.
Voyles was one of two internal finalists considered by the Game and Fish Commission in Monday's public session. The commission received more than 30 applications after conducting a nationwide search. Initial interviews were conducted with six people.
Voyles will lead an agency that employs more than 600 employees and is funded at more than $80 million per year from multiple funding sources, primarily the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, federal assistance from an excise tax on hunting and fishing gear, and several other sources such as the Heritage Fund (lottery proceeds), Wildlife Conservation Fund (tribal gaming revenue), watercraft licensing, and state wildlife grants.
He will work side-by-side with Shroufe until the latter's retirement in order to ensure a smooth transition and will fill out the remainder of Shroufe's original five-year contract through January 2009. In December, Shroufe requested, and was granted, commission approval to retire early this coming March after serving as director for nearly 20 years.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department director is appointed by and reports to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The director serves as the department's chief administrative officer and is responsible for the general supervision and control of all activities, functions and employees of the department.
Voyles is a very poor pick for Director by an out-of-touch Commission that needs a major shake-up. I'm certain there were better candidates for the job, but none that have proved themselves to be such a trusted good old boy as Voyles, which is why he got the job.