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DFG Drops 100 Because of Shortfall

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The California Department of Fish and Game, beset by dwindling hunting and fishing license sales that have led to a budget shortfall of between $7.5 million and $10 million, has dropped about 100 temporary workers from its payroll and placed restrictions on overtime payments and travel.

The cuts, expected to save hundreds of thousands of dollars, should not affect enforcement and wildlife protection or the hatchery system and fish-stocking programs, according to DFG deputy director Paul Jensen.

“What we’re trying to do is redirect permanent help,” he said this week. “We’re trying to make sure that the hatcheries are operated at a level that’s acceptable, and that our license function and wildlife protection is not impacted.

“We’re going to maintain our up-front operations. For example, (Thursday) we were talking about taking people from the headquarters function and putting them over in the license section for the remainder of the year because we’re just now getting into hunting license and deer tag sales and what have you, so this is really heavy work time over there.”

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Jensen said no further cuts have been announced or are expected, and that the department is putting together a package of “concrete proposals” for the Assembly Ways and Means subcommittee to generate revenue. That might include requests for more money from the state’s sale of personalized license plates. About $16 million went into the DFG budget from this source last year.

Another possibility, Jensen said, would be to dip into the general fund to help hunting and sportfishing programs, which are supposed to be self-supporting.


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