Former state biologists and supervisors are requesting that Corey Rossi, pictured here, be replaced as the head of the Division of Wildlife Conservation. (File/KTUU-DT)
John Schoen, a former Fish and Game biologist, says Rossi isn't even qualified to be an entry-level biologist with the Department. (Bill Costello/KTUU-DT)
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Nearly 40 former state biologists are requesting that the head of Alaska's Division of Wildlife Conservation, Corey Rossi, be replaced because he's not qualified for the position.
Rossi has only been at the helm of the division for about a week.
"I'm disappointed," said John Schoen, Ph.D, one of 39 former state biologists mobilizing this week to oust Rossi.
"It seems to us that we should hire someone who has at least the experience of an entry-level biologist," Schoen said.
Schoen and other former state biologists drafted a letter and sent it to Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Denby Lloyd and Gov. Sean Parnell.
In the letter, they say they are "deeply concerned about the direction the division is heading in managing Alaska's wildlife resources".
Their concerns heightened with Rossi's appointment. They say he is a "single issue advocate," and that the leadership change is a signal that "professional management will be replaced by a simplistic abundance management model where maximum production of wild game meat is the state of Alaska's single overriding objective."
"It's a very single oriented direction and the department really needs to manage wildlife as a public trust for all the people of the state; that's actually in the mission statement of the Division of Wildlife Conservation," Schoen said.
The biologists warn that if Rossi remains in his position it will erode staff morale, result in resignations and reduce public support for state wildlife management.
On Rossi's resume, no college degree is listed, but he does refer to several college courses and says he qualified through distance education to be a federal wildlife biologist.
He also lists years of service with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
Phone calls to Lloyd, the Department of Fish and Game and Rossi were not returned Monday night.
Contact Megan Baldino at firstname.lastname@example.org