Fall, and the upcoming hunting seasons, combine to create a huge point
of interest for Hoosier outdoors folks, but beneath the flow of the obvious
a huge question looms in the minds of conservationists and environmentalists
of the state.
Who will replace Mike Kiley, the Marion attorney who served the Natural
Resources Commission for 29 years, the last 15 years as its chairman?
In conducting an informal poll of conservationists of the state, we
seem to have learned (in the opinion of those close to the situation) that
there are five current members of the Commission who would be qualified
to fill Kiley’s big shoes.
They are Rick Cockrum, vice-chairman of the Commission; Jane Ann Stautz,
a member of the panel since the first administration of governor Evan Bayh;
D. Raymond “Ray” McCormick, a staunch backer of conservation practices
for many years, and chairman of the Advisory Council for Resource Regulation;
Dr. Damian Schmelz, representative of the Indiana Academy of Science;,
and Richard Mangus, who served in the House of Representatives for many
years, while giving strong support for issues involving natural and wildlife
My sources see Cockrum as heir presumptive to the Commission chair,
but it is not known if he is a candidate (attempts to contact him have
been unsuccessful). Cockrum has been a member of the panel since 1998.
Mrs. Stautz, an attorney, is a firm backer of issues involving wise
use of natural and wildlife resources, and works in the field of environmental
law. “I would welcome the opportunity” to chair the panel, she says.
McCormick, one of the state’s best known conservationist with vast knowledge
of good farming practices, has served on the Advisory Council for Resource
Regulation since 1990, and chairs that panel. He, too, would welcome the
opportunity to chair the panel
We have been unable to contact Dr. Schmelz but he has indicated that
he is not a candidate. Being a recent appointee, Mangus (by phone) was
noncommittal, reserving his answer to that question for later.
The Indiana law that governs appointments (membership qualifications)
to the Commission reads as follows:
“IC 14-10-1-1 Establishment and members of commission
“Sec. 1. The natural resources commission is established. The commission
consists of twelve (12) members as follows:
“(1) The commissioner of the Indiana department of transportation
or the commissioner's designee.
“(2) The commissioner of the department of environmental management
or the commissioner's designated deputy.
“(3) The director of the department of commerce or the director's
“(4) The director of the department.
“(5) The chairman of the advisory council for the bureau of water
and resource regulation.
“(6) The chairman of the advisory council for the bureau of lands
and cultural resources.
“(7) The president of the Indiana academy of science or the president's
“(8) Five (5) citizen members appointed by the governor, at least
two (2) of whom must have knowledge, experience, or education in the environment
or in natural resource conservation. Not more than three (3) citizen members
may be one the same political party.”
Although the new chairman of the Commission logically would seem to
be one of the triumvirates of Cockrum, Mrs. Stautz, and Mangus, there is
one vacant seat. I am told that the governor could appoint an outside person
to fill that chair. And, because the chairman serves at the pleasure of
the governor, a new appointee could conceivably become the new chairman.
It is interesting to note that the three chairmen of the Commission
since its formation in 1965 have all been Democrats. All were appointed
to the panel by Republican governors.
A successor to Kiley will is scheduled to be elected at the January
meeting of the Commission.