The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Steve Erdman
District 47 Senator 

Straight Talk from Steve

Moving Game and Parks to Sidney

 

February 10, 2021 | View PDF

The Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee recently conducted a hearing on LB562, my bill to relocate the headquarters for the Game and Parks Commission to the City of Sidney.

Relocating the Game and Parks Commission to Sidney has proven to be a good idea.

The hearing on this bill went very well. The City of Sidney was well represented at the hearing and presented a very compelling case for moving the headquarters to Sidney.

Mayor, Roger Galloway, Vice Mayor, Bob Olson, and City Councilman, Brad Sherman, all made the trip to Lincoln to testify at the public hearing and they did an outstanding job representing the City of Sidney.

By the end of the hearing the City of Sidney stood out clearly as the best choice in Nebraska for relocating the headquarters of the Game and Parks Commission.

Contrary to the superlative testimony of those representing the City of Sidney, no one representing the City of Lincoln ever came to testify at the public hearing; instead, the city submitted a lame letter of opposition to the bill.

When three people representing the City of Sidney travel 350 miles and endure a five hour car ride to come and testify at the Capitol and present a compelling case for the move, but no one from the City of Lincoln even bothers to show up, it speaks volumes to the committee members of the Natural Resources Committee. One has to wonder whether or not the City of Lincoln even wants the headquarters of the Game and Parks Commission to be in their city?

Moving the headquarters of the Game and Parks Commission to Sidney is not a far out idea. Consider that the headquarters for the Oil and Gas Commission has been located in Sidney for years.

The Oil and Gas Commission is located in Sidney because that is where the oil is. In the same way, we need to move the Game and Parks Commission to Sidney because that is where the wildlife live.

Keeping the Game and Parks Commission in Lincoln inevitably transforms the organization into the Parks Commission, but not the Game and Parks Commission.

The Game and Parks Commission testified in opposition to LB562 mostly because those who work for the Commission don’t want to move to Sidney. But don’t take my word for it.

That is exactly what Deputy Director, Tim McCoy, told the members of the Natural Resources Committee. McCoy’s statement was ironic, especially when you consider that folks from Western Nebraska often have to uproot their families and move to Lincoln or Omaha in order to find work or to stay employed.

The Game and Parks Commission submitted a phony fiscal note claiming that it would cost the State of Nebraska somewhere between $11.5 million to $14.75 million to move the headquarters to Sidney. However, when Tim McCoy was challenged on these obviously bloated figures, he could not defend the Commission’s numbers. Afterwards, in a separate hearing on LB668, he revised those numbers, admitting that the earlier numbers he had used were 12 times higher than what they should have been.

The hearing on LB562 went so well that I have started thinking about what other state agencies should be relocated to Western Nebraska. In my humble opinion, it appears that the City of Lincoln does not want these state employees living and working in their city.

So, the time has come to begin thinking about which other state agencies should be relocated to Western Nebraska. Perhaps, it is time for the State of Nebraska to purchase all of Cabela’s abandoned buildings and begin filling them with state employees!

 

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