Monday, March 22, 2010

Unadulterated Scuttlebutt: More Shake-Ups at Missouri Department of Natural Resources?

Infrastructure Watch has heard some wild rumors about a potential dismantling of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, full or partial. If it occurs, it will be contextualized as a budget-reducing measure.

Gov. Jay “Boondoggle Bridge” Nixon’s restructuring proposals have been reasonable so far, focused on eliminating inactive or redundant commissions and programs. Eliminating a major department is a tougher task.

While the state Department of Natural Resources is still a bit of a hodgepodge even 36 years after its creations, most of the state’s departments are. Some parts of the agency may seem to fit elsewhere, but mission difference might cause problems (for instance, the state’s parks and conservation areas have very different purposes even if they share the purpose of outdoor recreation). Other programs are likely to cause heartburn for any department they are part of.
A reorganization of this magnitude is not a ready fix to budget problems, especially since such a small portion of the department’s funding is from general revenue. It is likely to entail huge management headaches for any of the departments involved.

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