Mike Conlin just got his response to one of the most talked about FOI requests in IDNR history, and it's unsatisfying; and the response backs up the need for the Fish Management Fund idea he and J.R. Black have pushed.
Click here for the Fish Management Fund idea by Conlin and Black.
As a lead-in to that idea, a couple months ago, Conlin, the former long-time fisheries chief, put in a FOI request to figure out how fishing license fees in the Wildlife and Fish Fund were being used. That request had the IDNR offices in Springfield all atwitter, and I don't mean something doing with tweets.
Well, the answer, sorta, finally came.
Here's the email note from Conlin:
On April 30, 2012, in an effort to document just how angler license fees in the Wildlife and Fish Fund are being expended, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Illinois DNR for budget information (see attached scan #37). The official reply, after nearly two months, arrived on June 26, 2012. The DNR's official reply (see attached scan #34 ...item #3) indicates that they could not find any documents relative to how much Wildlife and Fish Fund monies (where all fishing licenses fees are deposited) were spent for the operation of the Division of Fisheries from 2000 - March 31, 2011!!!!!!!!!!! One of two things is operating here: 1) the Freedom of Information Act request response is untruthful; or, 2) the DNR truly has no idea how to find information which documents the amount of fishing license fee dollars spent for the Division of Fisheries. Either of the two possibilities just screams of the need for a Fish Management Fund (from which the Fisheries Division Chief must authorize expenditures).
J.R. Black and I will let you all know when it is time for the anglers of Illinois to next have their voices heard relative to establishment of a Fish Management Fund. Many thanks to all!!
All I can say is that it backs what a lot of people think: that the IDNR is not particularly good or even competent at handling license fees.
This saga is far from over. And it matters as the idea of IDNR sustainability will probably be resurrected again this year.