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  • MLCA

Guest Column: Funding concerns prompt DMR changes

  1. Redirection of resources away from lower priority areas toward high priority areas:  A lack of sufficient resources in the Department’s Division of Public Health was keeping fishermen out of productive shellfish flats.  I removed this Division from the Bureau of Resource Management and made it a stand-alone component of the Department.  Under a new director and with an enhanced and restructured staff, Public Health has made significant progress in opening acres of shellfish flats that are now determined to be safe for human consumption.

  2. A clear separation between the science and policy:  Under the new structure, there is a clearer division between the policy branch of the Department and the science branch. Staff from both these offices must work closely together, yet the roles of each must be clear.  This delineation will be especially important as the Department begins development of fisheries management plans for fisheries in state waters.

  3. Cross-training of staff to improve services:  In all areas of the Department we are looking at opportunities for staff to become cross-trained to carry out different duties as work changes throughout the year. This type of approach will allow us to bring focused efforts to bear when needed, particularly in those fisheries that we have to manage more intensively through the rebuilding process. I know that change is not always comfortable.  But it is my hope that your experiences with the changes at DMR will be positive ones that improve the services you receive as well as improve your bottom line. I want to assure you that the reorganization has not diminished Marine Patrol in any way.  My goal is to ensure that the Bureau of Marine Patrol is fully staffed within each section.  There is no plan to reduce science staff in the Boothbay Harbor laboratory, and we will be filling currently vacant positions to enhance the policy staff in Hallowell.  The Governor strongly supports DMR’s work in preserving and enhancing jobs and economic opportunity in Maine’s working waterfronts, and the work done for the reorganization should serve us well in the upcoming zero-based budgeting exercise.  If you have questions as these efforts move forward, please feel free to contact me, or any of my staff.

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