Ten percent of MassWildlife staff takes early retirement

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A staff exodus at MassWildlife

March 12, 2002

Joe Michniewicz, Worcester Telegram

On Friday, the day the state's retirement incentive plan goes into effect, 14 MassWildlife staff employees will clean out their desks.

    Considering the thousands of state employees who will be taking early retirement, 14 is not a large number. However, it is 10 percent of MassWildlife's work force and a considerable bank of experience and knowledge.

    “On March 15 nearly 400 years of combined experience will walk out the door,” Wayne MacCallum, the agency's director, said. “You simply can't replace that amount of institutional knowledge and expertise (because) so much of what this agency does is specialized and technical. Provisions of the retirement bill also limit the number of retiring employees whose positions will be filled. We'll be prioritizing our responsibilities and making the most of the personnel resources we have.”

    It is possible that two or three of the positions that were lost by the retirement incentive plan could be replaced.

    Many sportsmen feel that if funding is the problem in replacing positions, it shouldn't affect them. The Inland Fish and Wildlife Fund, which finances all the programs of MassWildlife, is a dedicated fund and is not part of the general fund. The money cannot be spent on anything else but its intended purpose.

    The fund is derived from licenses and permits sold to sportsmen, from the Federal Aid in Sportfishing and Wildlife Fund financed by the taxes they spent on equipment and voluntary contributions for rare and endangered species. However, funds from the Inland Fish and Wildlife Fund must be released by the legislature each year.

    Half of the employees leaving on Friday are from the fisheries program and the fish hatchery system. The wildlife program will lose two people, and the Natural Heritage Program one.

    Employees leaving: Joe Bergin, Brad Blodget, Bill Easte, Marsha Hartleb, Richard Keller, and Carl Prescott from field headquarters in Westboro; Richard Cannata, Mike Ciborowski, Lou Hambly, Peter Jackson, and Lee McLaughlin from the district offices; John Besse, Annette Kucharczyk, and John Moriarty from the hatcheries.
 


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