Happy Earth Day! Scott Walker Warns of Layoffs for Dept. of Natural Resources

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel item, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be able to take to the stump in his bid for the White House and claim to have cut Wisconsin’s state budget yet again.

An employee of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources appears to have run to the media because a notice of potential layoffs due to budget cuts was circulated. Private sector employees don’t get to enjoy this luxury of media coverage attempting to prevent human resources actions over budget shortfalls.

It’s as if government workers are scared, somehow—especially those working in areas embraced by the political left.

Fifty-seven employees of the state Department of Natural Resources began receiving formal notices this week that they might face layoff as part of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget for the next two fiscal years.

DNR spokesman Bill Cosh said that of that number, 27 employees are in the Bureau of Science Services, a unit of the DNR where Walker is proposing significant cuts.

The bureau performs significant research duties for the DNR, and the cuts have come under fire from wildlife and environmental groups who say research is the underpinning of many agency activities. Other positions that could be cut are education and communications personnel.

What’s presently unclear is what, if any jobs will actually be cut, or if any of the supposed research is redundant in any manner. As the article points out, other areas besides the one being impacted do conduct research across the broader area of concern.

DNR officials have said in recent weeks that it’s premature to say what cuts will actually occur, and how science and research will be handled at the DNR in future years. Cosh has said that science is carried out across the DNR, and not just in the Bureau of Science Services.

The DNR’s scientific staff conducts research on matters ranging from estimating the size of the state’s deer herd to to studying the effects of aquatic invasive species. Work is paid for with state and federal funds.


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