Tuesday, July 18, 2017

UPDATED II - Dispute exists as to the so-called transfer of a Willidfe Division staffer

It appears at first blush that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources may either be deliberately purging the ranks of the Ohio Division of Wildlife or else the former is using the latter agency as a farm team for its sibling associates.

On Monday came word that the Division's head of real estate - John Sambuco - was ordered transferred to the Department's real estate section. That possibly unprecedented move - or certainly rare move - has Natural Resources critics concerned about what may come stalking next from around the Kasich Administration's corner.

However, the Natural Resources Department sees things differently, noting that Sambuco's position with the Wildlife Division remains intact. He's just operating out of the different Fountain Square complex venue, says an agency spokesman.

It was only one week ago that the Natural Resources Department gave Sambuco's immediate boss, Stacy Xenakis, the ultimatum of either transferring elsewhere or else packing the bags 'cause you're history.

It may be noteworthy that on July 12th at the regular Ohio Wildlife Council meeting the newly installed Wildlife Division chief - Mike Miller - said under a withering question-and-answer session that there would not be any further personnel removals. The intense questioning of Miller largely came from Wildlife Council member Tom Vorisek.

Vorisek's bull-dogged questioning stemmed from his belief that Miller was being less than cooperative in the new chief's responses.

With Sambuco's departure this action brings to nine past or current Wildlife Division employees the Natural Resources Department has axed, transferred or demoted since July 5th. That date is when Natural Resources Director James Zehringer and two departmental assistant directors terminated as the Wildlife Division chief, Ray Petering.

And in virtually every instance the actions were taken with no prior warning nor notification to the impacted individuals. Neither did the Natural Resources Department post any of the newly opened jobs as being available for any potential applicant.

All of which is angering at least one pro-sportsmen's action group. The Columbus-based Sportsmen's Alliance is taking a hard line on the Natural Resources Department's equally entrenched position that it can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, and to whomever it wants.

“Ohio’s hunters, anglers and trappers don’t know who to trust in ODNR right now, and there has been little to no dialogue to help ease those concerns,” said Evan Heusinkveld, the Alliance's president and CEO in an organizational media release.

The Sportsmen’s Alliance statement also included comments from Ray Petering, who fell out of the Zehringer's favor after only about 18 months. It was back then that Zehringer praised Petering, celebrating the latter's standing with Ohio's outdoors community and internally with the agency's personnel.
“Despite Chief Miller’s assurance in a public meeting, the political purge in the Division of Wildlife continues. Now they’ve moved past middle management and into the rank-and-file Division of Wildlife employees,” said Petering, quoted in the Alliance press release.
“Ohio’s sportsmen and women deserve to know what real agenda is at work to justify the disruption of so many careers of wildlife professionals.”

Not so fast, though, based on comments from the Natural Resources Department.

While Sambuco's title and work load remains the same he simply is working out of a different office in a different Fountain Square building, says a spokesman for the Natural Resources Department.

This, in spite of the fact that Sambuco's immediate Wildlife Division supervisor is now no longer positioned in the same building.

"John Sambuco's responsibilities or reporting structure has not changed; he still works for the ODNR Division of Wildlife," lso says departmental spokesman Matt Eiselstein.

Sambuco's  physical move was made for "ease of work flow and continuity and has proved successful in the past," Eiselstein says also.

"He is now working side by side with other real estate professionals that represent the department and other divisions," Eiselstein says. 

 - Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

No comments:

Post a Comment