Late yesterday you all received an email from me with a brief account of discussions between Matt, Gundy, your region directors, division administrators and me on how DNR can work better and smarter, and still protect our environment and natural resources.
By now many of you will have seen media accounts of this proposal which would designate DNR as ’s first charter agency. I think that needs some explaining.
This is only a proposal at this time. No decision has been made and nothing has changed as of today. As with many new ideas like this one, I expect that rumor and speculation will travel faster than fact.
It is a fact that many of the ideas in a charter concept have come from you through suggestions for how we can be better at what we do.
It also is fact that some of the ideas for a DNR charter have come from states that have already adopted this concept. However, that does not mean that if approved, a DNR charter would duplicate those states. We would pick out the best ideas and adopt them to our unique Wisconsin traditions and resources.
Designating DNR as a charter agency would allow us to operate free from much of the red tape and bureaucratic processes that slow down much of government. It does not mean we would abandon our mission to protect and preserve our natural resources.
Let me offer a few examples. As a charter agency we may be able to manage our fleet ourselves to meet our needs. Being a charter agency may also greatly shorten the time and numerous approvals needed to fill vacancies across all our programs. We may also have more flexibility to make more decisions on facility management and operations.
Additionally, we could take steps to improve delivery of services to our customers and clients across=all programs. A key in this effort is creation of the Office of Business Development and Economic Sustainability, headed by Al Shea. Our goal here would be to work early and closely with new business ventures to assure all necessary permitting steps are known and that we are consistent so that a new business in northern Wisconsin plays on the same field as a business in the southern Wisconsin and vice versa.
If a charter agency, we may also have greater say in managing, directing and supporting our technology systems. As you all know, budgets are thin and anything we can do to increase our efficiency and productivity is worth a close look.
I promise you that we will do our best to keep you informed. We intend to schedule an electronic town hall meeting similar to the one we convened in February as soon as possible to hear and answer your questions. Watch for details on this one.
As always, thanks for your ideas and hard work. I truly believe you are the best staff in state government. We greatly appreciate the work you do everyday to keep Wisconsin great.
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