Monday, March 12, 2018

Bill Limiting Terms Of Fish & Boat Commission Executive Directors OK'd By House Committee In Nearly Party Line Vote

The House Game and Fisheries Committee late Monday reported out Senate Bill 935 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) which would limit the term of the Executive Director of the Fish and Boat Commission to eight years.  
The vote was 15 to 9, Chairman Keith Gillespie (R-York), Minority Chairman Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria), Rep. Dan Moul (R-York), Rep. Dave Maloney (R-Berks), Rep. Barry Jozwiak (R-Berks), Rep. Aaron Bernstein (R-Lawrence), Rep. Bud Cook (R-Washington), Joe Emrick (R-Northampton), Rep. Hal English (R-Allegheny), Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming), Rep. Mindy Fee (R-Lancaster), Rep. Mike Peifer (R-Pike), Rep. Justin Walsh (R-Westmoreland), Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette), Rep. Parke Wentling (R-Mercer) voting in the affirmative, and Rep. Thomas Mehaffie (R-Dauphin) joining remaining Democratic members in the voting in the negative.
Rep. Mike Hanna (D-Clinton), House Minority Whip, said, “Clearly there was a reason it was not up to the legislature who the executive director is and how long he or she could serve. Changing that by this legislation simply because we are dissatisfied with the current executive director is wrong."
Rep. Ed Neilson (D-Philadelphia) said, “After reading all the articles in the papers about this, I think this is one person’s mission and we’re here to carry out the dirty work in the House. I don’t think it’s right. I’m sorry the Senate put us in this position.”
Executive Directors are now selected by the Commission Board and have no term limits  The current Executive Director-- John Arway-- was named to the position by the Board in March of 2010.
Arway has been a leading advocate for the Resource First policy, protecting and restoring watersheds and for taking steps to put the Fish and Boat Commission on a sound financial footing.
782 responses (as of 6:00 p.m. March 13) to an online poll in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette created by John Hayes found 80 percent agreed with the statement, “Will you hold your legislators responsible at the polls if state politics interferes with the routine operation of the wildlife management commissions?”
The meeting was called with just a few hours public notice and was not webcast by the PA House Republican Caucus.
The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.
Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York) serves as Majority Chair of the House Game and Fisheries Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-705-7167 or by sending email to: Rep. Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-783-1491 or by sending email to:
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