Yesterday I published a copy of a letter written by a man who has, over the recent years, become a very outspoken activist for the Idaho hunting, fishing and trapping community. Part of his focus is on weeding out the corruption that exists on the Board of Commissioners as well as within the fish and game department itself in Idaho. And now, it appears that Mr. Rockholm has taken another step in his desire to weed out those who not only refuse to carry out the mission of the fish and game department, but work behind the scenes if necessary, against the mission of the fish and game department.

In this instance in Idaho, Rockholm fingered one man specifically, who, it was discovered, had gone on Facebook and advocated for pro wolf supporters to “shoot, shovel and shut up” private livestock legally being grazed on public lands. For those who may not know, “shoot, shovel and shut up” is a term that was used in describing the actions supposedly taken by some in dealing with federally protected gray wolves. The words speak for themselves.

Rhetoric is cheap and we all practice it to some degree. I have made comments in the past and I have read them and heard them from others, that our fish and game departments have been taken over by environmentalists and animal rights advocates, many of whom are supporters of predator protection and non consumptive wildlife management, combined with a theory of “natural balance”.

In this Idaho case, after the employee was offered early retirement because of his actions, he made it known on further Facebook postings that he no longer had to work quietly while on his job at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. As a pro wolf, environmentalist activist, released from his minimum security cage, he was ready to become openly active while at the same time he fingered a fellow fish and game employee as being in the same predicament; an activist trapped in a government job. Nice guy!

Even though Mr. Rockholm was told by the director of the fish and game department that the person in question was fired, he wasn’t. He was just offered an early retirement package. Which brings us to another point in the discussion about getting rid of fish and game employees who don’t work to fulfill the mission of the departments they work for. Easier said than done.

We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that these people are government employees and as such it makes it next to impossible to get rid of them, even if they are not doing their job – frustrating but true.

Many sportsmen advocate that fish and game work should be based on science and not on politics. While it should be, how do you suggest keeping politics out of it when more than likely the appointment to the head of the fish and game department is a political one?

As just another political department, it should be fish and game carries out the program guidelines set up between the governor and his selection to run the department. It then becomes the responsibility of the head of the fish and game, to bring his employees, many of whom he or she inherited, in line with the mission. If there are no alternatives for fish and game leaders to deal with non complying employees, then that is the fault of the state’s governmental structure and needs changing. And good luck with that. This is another of the good ole boys’ club. To threaten the security of a cushy job by firing and/or loss of full or partial retirement benefits, is akin to asking the government law makers to put their own jobs at risk. Show me somebody with enough moral understanding that would do that and I’ll show you somebody who isn’t a politician!

This political crap runs in both directions through both parties and as such the employees need to be able to adapt accordingly. If they refuse to do their job or are found to be working against the mission of the department, proper disciplinary action should be handed down, not an easy out with early retirement.

There’s always been a difficult line as to what a government employee can and cannot do on their own time. I think it shouldn’t matter, so long as it is within the law. I’m not sure encouraging people in the destruction of other people’s lawful property isn’t taking things a bit too far.

No employee should be protected from being fired from their job for good reason.

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