Republican Gov. Phil Batt apologized to members of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Friday, calling last week’s letter seeking their resignations “premature and ill-conceived.”
Batt met with five of the six commissioners in his office to establish a working relationship with the panel after two weeks of criticism and recriminations. Commissioner Louis Racine of Pocatello did not attend.
While acknowledging many complaints against it may be unjustified, the governor said he was keeping a campaign promise to hold the Department of Fish and Game accountable to the public. But he admitted going too far when he asked the commissioners to resign.
“It violates my own advice to use common sense in governmental action,” Batt said. “I may or may not make changes in your membership as time goes on, but I will say again that that action was premature. I have nothing against any member of this board personally or as a body.”
“I think we’re pleased to clear the air,” said Commission Chairman Richard Hansen of Bayview, who met with Batt and Commissioner Richard Meiers of Eagle on Thursday.
Batt used last week’s budget message to blast the Fish and Game commissioners as defiant, ambitious, out of touch and intrusive.
Batt wrote in letters to all six asking for their resignations that he wanted the option of replacing them immediately if he chose.