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Doyle says he won't give up power to appoint DNR head

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New Richmond, 54017

New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

Gov. Jim Doyle now says he won't give up his power to appoint the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

That's a flip-flop from a long-time stand he took earlier and it confirms a change of heart he first hinted in January.

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In a letter this week, Doyle said he has watched secretaries appointed by both governors and the Natural Resources Board, and he believes a secretary under the governor's authority can be much more effective.

Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson took the appointment power away from the DNR Board in the late 1980s.

Some Democrats have tried ever since to reverse the move, saying Thompson brought partisan politics to hunting, fishing and nature.

Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, has submitted bills in the past to change back the appointment structure, but they've gone nowhere. He says he'll submit another bill to that effect next week.

But Wisconsin's business community supports the governor on this done.

Scott Manley of the Manufacturers and Commerce group says the DNR is more responsive to the public when its secretary answers to the governor.

If the board were to appoint the secretary, Manley said that person would be insulated and accountable to no one.

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