Indiana DNR Director Macklin resigns

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Decatur native Macklin resigns as DNR director.

By Phil Bloom/Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette

Having spent 13 of the last 15 years working in Indianapolis, Larry Macklin has decided it's time to go home.

Macklin announced Thursday that he will resign next month as director of the state Department of Natural Resources and return to Decatur to work in the private sector.

"I've been contemplating this for almost a year," said Macklin, 58, who became the DNR director nearly five years ago. "As much as I have loved serving as the DNR director, my heart tells me that it is time to go back home."

As director, Macklin split his time between the Decatur home he shares with his wife, Janet, and an apartment in Indianapolis.

Gov. Frank O'Bannon appointed state tourism director John Goss to replace Macklin. Goss, 50, will assume his DNR duties Jan. 21.

O'Bannon also announced the permanent appointment of Col. Bruce Clear as director of the DNR Division of Law Enforcement. Clear has been the division's acting director since May.

Macklin's decision caught many off guard.

"I was just completely amazed," said Dick Mercier, president of the Indiana Sportsman's Roundtable, a coalition of state conservation groups with a membership approaching 70,000.

"We always had an excellent working relationship with Larry Macklin," said Mercier, praising him for "many very, very good and progressive things he did for the DNR that he never took or got credit for."

As DNR director, Macklin supervised a state agency of 1,400 full-time employees in 22 divisions managing the natural and historic resources of the state.

"This is a very diverse agency, from coal mine regulations to outdoor recreation to gypsy moths to entomology," Macklin said. "Each area brings a unique concern.

"There are new issues every with this agency every day. You can't pick a time when you can say the time is right to leave."

Macklin began his professional career as an administrative assistant with the DNR in 1965, went into private business and later became a two-term state senator beginning in 1986. He was elected Decatur clerk-treasurer in 1995 but resigned that position when O'Bannon named him to head the DNR in February 1997.

"Larry Macklin has worked tirelessly to make the services of a fine agency even better," O'Bannon said in a statement. "During Larry's service as DNR director, the Indiana Heritage Trust has protected 23,000 acres for recreation and wildlife, facilities at state parks and other DNR properties have been improved, and construction of the new state museum is nearly complete."

Although Goss has worked in another state agency since 1992, he has been in touch with DNR issues as a member of the Natural Resources Commission since 1989. The commission oversees the DNR.

"I feel good about what we accomplished with state tourism," he said. "I'm ready for a new challenge.

"I've always personally liked the DNR and have been involved as a pretty serious member of the NRC. Gov. O'Bannon called me over and said he'd like me to do this. I certainly was predisposed to say yes because I like the DNR a lot."

Goss was O'Bannon's chief of staff when O'Bannon was lieutenant governor, and he served as deputy mayor for two former Bloomington mayors - Frank McCloskey and Tomilea Allison.

A native of Columbus, Goss earned two degrees from Indiana University - a bachelor's in economics and a master's from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

"I have spent the past nine years encouraging Hoosiers and people from neighboring states to enjoy Indiana," Goss said. "I look forward to now recommend that they enjoy the best of natural Indiana at our state parks, forests, lakes and fish and wildlife areas."
 

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