Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Governor's Fish Ohio Day minus, well, the Governor. And the Lt. Governor, too

Clearly (pun intended) the Kasich Administration is the most opaque and arrogant such governorship assembly in recent memory.

It’s disregard for doing what is correct and right for fish and wildlife is increasingly being ratcheted, tightening the screws on the Ohio Division of Wildlife, destroying morale within the agency’s personnel, needlessly shuffling employees within the body as well as swapping them out to sibling sections.

More often than not waiting to inform the employee only when he or she steps into the office to pack their stuff because they’ve been traded to some other division in some other Fountain Square building.

Let it be understood from the beginning; the Wildlife Division’s hands are not entirely untainted from scandal nor belligerence. For good reason many previous Ohio Department of Natural Resources directors chose not to take on the Wildlife Division, even when that agency did things its way, come heck or high water.

Too, the Wildlife Division failed miserably in reigning in the rouge District Five (southwest Ohio) Office several years back. Shoot, even some agency personnel confided that they’d resign before accepting a position there.

Yet the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is going too far in restructuring the Wildlife Division.

Even as Ohio Governor John Kasich snub of sportsmen’s and sportswomen’s interests is equally distressing and uncalled for.

In a way one could not help but feel empathy for the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association which on Tuesday helped sponsor the 38th Annual Governor’s Fish Ohio Day, held as usual at Port Clinton.

Only Governor Kasich was not there, not that many people believed he’d show up. Neither was his pulpit proxy, Lt. Governor Mary Taylor. Indeed, Taylor was supposed to be there, her boat assignment made that included Natural Resources Director James Zehringer. The vessel was captained by the OCBA’s president, Paul Pacholski, if memory serves correctly.

And if anyone needs a positive experience with potential campaign supporters and lots of press exposure it is Taylor. Taylor is struggling in her efforts to stand out in order for her to capture next year’s Republican gubernatorial nod against Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Secretary of State John Husted.

Shoot, if Douglas George - the Consul General for Canada - can take a bow at Ohio’s 38th Annual Governor’s Fish Ohio Day than you’d think that the state’s actual governor or his playbill stand-in could have shown up, too.

For that matter it is inconceivable that either James A. Rhodes or George V. Voinovich would have skipped out of a Fish Ohio Day. Not only did each of these former Ohio governors thoroughly enjoy attending the event they also had no lack of desire to host a press conference with the assembled media.

In fact, Voinovich even attended Fish Ohio Days long after he left office; Fish Ohio Day meaning that much to him.

Pity that neither Kasich nor Taylor thought as much, in effect snubbing the assembled media as well as the event’s slate of hosts and participating elected dignitaries representing both political parties.

Perhaps the charter boat captains should have followed through on a suggestion offered by others: Cancel the Fish Ohio event, which was held one day after the “Monday Morning Massacre” in which the Natural Resources Department demonstrated a senseless and brutal display of retribution against the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

If the charter boat skippers had done as much then maybe the state legislators and others left at the dock would have sought an explanation from the governor just what the heck is happening over at Fountain Square. And if Kasich and/or Taylor know, well then, they’re as much of the problem as they are the solution.

But we’ll never know. The show went on without the program’s headlining act.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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