OLYMPIA -- Dave Brittell, a veteran Washington Department of Fish and
Wildlife employee, has been appointed assistant director for administrative services
and will focus on the agency's budget, Director Bern Shanks announced today.
"Dave has a unique talent to take complex business and budget issues and
make them work on the ground," Shanks said. "And he knows the department inside
and out--he has directed the Wildlife Programs in the old Department of Wildlife and
Department of Fish and Wildlife for six years."
Shanks said Brittell will focus immediately on implementing the department's
new automated licensing system. That system will ensure timely collection of
approximately $20 million per year from the sale of some two million hunting and fishing
licenses through more than 800 private vendors.
The system also will track revenue trends carefully and provide early indicators
when significant changes are occurring.
The Legislature this year appropriated $1 million for the agency to begin
purchasing the new computerized system.
Shanks said Brittell will be working closely with WDFW Comptroller Jim Lux to
bring the department's antiquated financial systems into the 21st century.
Brittell's position was created by the combination of two assistant director's slots --
Management Services and Outreach and Education. In a major cost-slashing move,
WDFW will consolidate nine assistant director jobs into five.
The director also announced Mike Kuttel, another veteran employee, will replace
Brittell as assistant director for the Wildlife Management Program. That program
manages the state's wildlife resources.
Kuttel had been serving as director of the department's Region 7, which was being
organized to improve customer service to the rapidly growing southern Puget Sound
area. Region 7 was disbanded due to lack of funding.
"Mike has served in several policy-level positions in the department. He has
proven to be a team player and he is very knowledgeable about critical wildlife issues,
such as tribal hunting and wild animals that threaten people or crops," Shanks said.
In another development, Washington Fish and Wildlife commissioners last night
reviewed an extensive budget-reduction package developed by Shanks and his
management that would slash more than $7.5 million from the department's 1997-99
The majority of the cuts would come from the Wildlife Fund, which is supported by
the sale of fishing and hunting licenses.
Without the cuts, WDFW would have had a $17 million shortfall between license
revenue projections and sales by the end of the biennium, June 30, 1999.
Highlights of the budget reduction package include the consolidation of the
agency's top management and a major reduction in Olympia-based managers.
Under the plan informally approved by the commissioners, major cuts in existing
programs would include:
- Administration, Business, and Outreach and Education: $1,482,000
- Fish Management/Hatcheries: $2,558,500
- Habitat/Lands: $1,764,000
"These cuts mean hard-working people who are dedicated to protecting
Washington's fish and wildlife resources will lose jobs. It is one of the most difficult things
I have ever done," Shanks said.
- Regional Operations: $183,000
He added, "In the long run, we must develop programs and find new funding
sources to protect and rebuild these resources as the federal Endangered Species Act
throws an increasingly larger shadow over Washington."