Fish and Boat Commission seeking to hire waterways officers
TribLIVE Sports Videos
HAWLEY — The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission plans to start the process of hiring additional employees this month.
It will figure out how to pay them later.
Tim Schaeffer, deputy director of policy and planning for the agency, said at the commission's quarterly meeting Monday that the agency is seeking recruits for a new class of waterways conservation officers.
The Civil Service Commission will accept applications during a date range that is expected to be announced within days. The goal is to have a list of potential candidates by early August, executive director John Arway said. Candidates would undergo 51 weeks of training, which would put them in the field next summer.
The new officers — perhaps as many as 20 — are needed because the commission has so many vacancies among its field officer ranks, said Larry Furlong, an assistant director in the commission's law enforcement bureau. Sixty-two of those jobs are filled, but 15 are vacant, and that number could grow.
“Within four years, something like 40 percent of our force could retire, potentially,” Furlong said. “I'm not sure they'll all go, but they could.”
Some of those vacancies are in Western Pennsylvania. The commission is down one officer in Westmoreland County and another in Somerset, said Tom Qualters, supervisor of the commission's southwest region office in Somerset. It could be short officers in Allegheny and Armstrong counties in the next year or two if officers who will be eligible for retirement leave, he added.
Qualters is retiring in June, which likely will mean an officer in the field will be promoted to the region office staff, leaving another vacancy.
Training 20 officer candidates would cost about $2 million, Arway said. The commission has that.
What it doesn't have — at least not yet — is the $1.6 million it would take to pay the salaries and benefits of 20 officers, Arway said. The commission will find it by next summer, he said.
But it's also going to have to account for about $9 million in new pension and health care costs, he told board members.
One idea the commission floated more than a year ago was to free up about $2 million by closing two hatcheries and cutting the number of adult trout stocked annually by about 25 percent. State lawmakers talked them out of that and promised to look for ways to give the commission more money.
They haven't yet, so tough decisions still loom, Arway said.
“It's all part of this whole expenditure thing we're going to have to investigate by 2015,” he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Advanced hunter education has trouble staying course
- Outdoors notebook: New Glade Run Lake may sport different look
- Frye: Summer’s end offers space for fishing
- Pa. Game Commission wants fee hikes, must convince sportsmen to buy in
- Outdoors notices: Aug. 31, 2015
- Frye: Invasive weed finds way into Pymatuning
- Citizen science meets technology in unique herpetology survey
- Goose can be made tasty by following simple steps
- Outdoor notices: Aug. 30, 2015