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IDNR's proposed budget cuts: Modest proposal

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Found an interesting breakdown of possible budget cuts (inevitable) at the IDNR on

Click here to read it.

Three things struck me.

One, that dam safety program is one that could have been cut long before this. Two, ditto for E.N.T.I.C.E., something that can be done in other places or with something other than public funds.

Third, and most importantly, somebody (a governor or IDNR director) needs to have the courage to do battle so volunteers can do basic maintenance work.

That's bugged a lot of us for a long time.

With tradesmen running at better than 10 percent unemployed statewide, basic fixing-up like working on wooden bridges, picnic tables, trails and brush removal could be done if regulations allowed.

And I am not pointing fingers at this administration. Nobody has been willing to fight that battle to allow major use of volunteers in maintenance issues.

I understand when money is flowing into the state coffers, nobody will have the stomach to fight for the right of voluenteers to help at the IDNR.

But in tight times like these is exactly when that battle should be fought, the battle to allow use of volunteer tradesmen within the public sites administered by the IDNR.

Now is the time.

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Dale , As you know our club,Walleyes Chicago, has asked the DNR numerous times on something we could volunteer our time as a club outing for projects on local lakes. We were told that they didnt need any help.

John, a lot of this stuff is so galling. I understand there are liability issues and union rules, but we have got to figure it out. We could call forth an army of tradesmen (and women) to do volunteer work at a multitude of tasks at our state sites.

Dale, I rarely disagree with you but this idea is not cool. The state has pissed the taxpayer's money away time and again and now you expect unemployed tradesmen to do the work for free? Will there be a break on state taxes, licensing fees or tolls for these guys with no income? Will they get a pass from the next harrassing State trooper who pulls them over for some bs "offense"?

I hope you are joking.

That would be the definition of the word "galling" in my world.

Let the f***ing politicians get out there and work for free on weekends.

Jose. I think you missed the main word "volunteer". Our state parks and lakes are in need of repairs. The state could save a bunch of money by asking clubs such as ours for help. We have offered to clean up lake /river areas around state parks and the answer we got was that the state cannot let us because of insurance reasons. If we can somehow get past this, I know a bunch of guys/families ready to go.This can be done with little effort.

Seems like a simple waiver form would be all that is needed.
But, alas, no such thing as a simple form where the bureaucracy of government is involved.

No John, I can read english. I didn't miss any words.

What I am saying is this; the state should be employing people to maintain the parks. That is why you pay taxes. Politicians have mismanaged your money so now you are volunteering to do someone's work for free. Bad precedent.

Would you like someone to volunteer to do your job for no pay to "save money" for a boss who gambled away your salary?

I also understand and appreciate your good intentions. There are many fine charities worthy of your club's efforts, the State of Illinois just isn't one of them.

As a union laborer myself, I'm not so sure that throwing the unemployed into volunteer work does much good either. I certainly wouldn't want to see it happen at the expense of my job. Then I begin to wonder whether any of the work would be getting done by union tradesman in the first place. Perhaps working with unions to "train" future tradesmen to get them ready for employment would be a better approach. We see this happening often already in many philanthropy efforts.
As for waivers as liability protection- not an option. Insurance riders would need to be bought and paid for in each workday instance, or legislation enacted/revised to allow for liability protections...likely costing even more money for the state.
I doubt this is a simple case of "letting them come out and pound hammers", but we don't know for certain what process is involved here.
I'll give it my best shot to find some answers and urge others to become informed as well.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on September 14, 2010 6:08 AM.

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