Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia DNR Director Frank Jezioro has drawn the ire of a number of lawmakers who are now calling for his dismissal from the position


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State lawmakers are calling for the immediate firing of state Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro. Members of the legislature made the formal request in letters to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in the final hours of the legislative session. Thirteen Senators and 26 Delegates asked for the termination in two separate letters to Tomblin, citing an inability to work with Jezioro and his continued interference with efforts to accomplish legislation.

“A lot of legislators and myself are not pleased with his attitude. He really doesn’t want to work with the legislature,” said Delegate Rupie Phillips of Logan County. “From the deer farming to the elk restoration to several things that other delegates and Senators have brought to my attention. He’s the EPA of the DNR.”

The deer farm legislation was expected to pass, but died on the final night of the legislative session.  The bill would have transferred regulatory control of captive cervids in West Virginia from Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture.

“We’re trying to promote, grow, and let that industry flourish in West Virginia and we were getting nothing but stonewalled from the DNR, That’s why we were trying to make a move.” said Senator Daniel Hall of Wyoming County. “We shouldn’t even have to make that move, but we were getting no cooperation from the DNR and we felt that was the only option we had left.”

The House version of the letter is strongly worded:

“His behavior is a detriment to his agency’s mission. He has stepped beyond the role of providing information on proposed legislation and has evolved into excessive lobbying of both the Legislature and outside groups on many issues that are within the purview of the legislature, including predator control, state parks, and captive cervids.  This overreach by the Director and his leadership team applies to nearly all of the programs of the Division including law enforcement, wildlife, parks, and fisheries.”

“He’s taken it upon himself to incite, in his own words 400,000 hunters in West Virginia to oppose this legislation and to try to control what goes on in the legislature,” said Hall. “Riling up and not just giving false information, but incomplete information trying to scare hunters out there into what he wants them to believe.”

Phillips’ major issue with the Director has been slow action on the push to reintroduce elk in southern West Virginia.  Phillips believed Jezioro has deliberately hamstrung the effort with wording of land agreements now in the hands of large land holding companies where the elk would be placed.

“The same companies who signed agreements in the state of Kentucky won’t sign Frank Jezioro’s version,” Phillips explained. “They’ve indicated they are willing to sign an agreement similar to those in Kentucky, but not the ones proposed so far in West Virginia. We’re missing a great opportunity here.”

Jezioro told a House subcommittee during interim meetings this year he would be adamant that any agreement allow elk to be accessible to the public from now on. The exact wording which has created the divide hasn’t been publicly revealed.

Jezioro tells MetroNews he never received a copy of the letter and only learned about it this week during a conversation with Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette.

“I have no idea who they are talking about that I called,” Jezioro said. “I don’t recall calling anybody and giving out misinformation.”

Jezioro said he was unaware of any of the claims made by lawmakers in the letters, especially in terms of lobbying sportsman’s organizations in the state.

“All these organizations openly came out against the Senate version (of the deer farm bill). They’re blaming me for that.  I wish I had that much influence with the thousands of people who belong to those organizations,”  he said. “I don’t recall making any call to any sportsman organization.  I never did it. I didn’t talk to their representatives at all.”

Jezioro also bristled at the allegation he engaged in “lobbying” against legislation.

“I never lobbied anybody and deliberately stayed away from the capitol this session because I’ve heard these claims before,” he said. “That the deer farm bill didn’t pass because of Frank Jezioro.”

Jezioro said he’s had no contact with Governor Tomblin about the letter or any other matter. 

“The Governor has received the letters and he’s reviewed those and spoken to Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette.” said Tomblin Administration Spokesperson Amy Shuler-Goodwin.  “He’s currently working on bill signing legislation, but he and Secretary Burdette will be following up on this issue soon.”

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  • Emilie

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  • longbeards

    The comments below show why West Virginia Outdoorsman are not taken as a serious group by members of legislator, can seem to find a united front!

  • Catman

    What's Jezioro still doing in there? With what has been going on I thought Tomblin would have dropped him like a hot potato by now. I guess it just goes to show that Manchine is still pulling the strings on the Kaboukie show that is West Virginia.

  • Daniel Farley

    This agency needs a house cleaning. Millions of dollars hidden in investment accounts. 2nd and 3rd offense DUI's not punished. Public meetings held each March for public input, Let me tell you these meetings are held because the law requires it.. TRY TO CONVINCE A BIOLOGIST OF ANY CHANGE. If you doubt the statement about the money get a copy of the DNR annual report and see how many accounts have less than $100.00 balance at the end of the year.

  • Daniel Farley

    AFTER HAVING FOR 35 PLUS YEARS WITH wv dnr LAW ENFORCEMENT and serving under several directors let me say jezero is without question the most arrogant hot headed of them all. He has a rabid dislike for the law enforcement section. If ever a person should fired it is he.

  • Nimrod

    WV DNR only cares about its buddies in the wv bow hunters association whom dictates most game laws. Also trout unlimited who gets every c&r stream they want. They take the best section of a stream for c&r regulations for there elitist friends who don't,t like to fish where there is any competition. And does anyone care to investigate why if a stream is c&r why are they stocked so many times each year. Could it be because legislators go there and fish on days Co,s are all in meetings and no one to check them. It used to happen on Upper Shavers Fork C&R in 70,s and 80,s,and probably still does.Cranberry River was ruined by taking the best section for C&R, and hatchery personnel have told me in the past they see very few people fishing it anyway.If DNR wants to sell more licenses and help out the local economy then they should do away with C&R on Cranberry and open it back up for everyone to enjoy and relieve the pressure on the lower end. Also they should stop the outfitters hauling the last wealthy peoples trailers into the back country and tying up so many camp sites for most of the stocking season.

  • bill

    Get rid of him. The DNR has gone down hill the last several years

  • josh

    I have no opinion on the deer farms. However, I think the introduction of elk to southern WV is a bad idea. Imagine a car striking an elk much more damage to the vehicle and an increased risk of injury or death to the occupants of the vehicle. Or imagine the crop damage only one elk could cause. One elk equals about four deer. I say if he stops the introduction of elk he is doing a good job.

  • Jim

    Send him and the two time convicted DUI wildlife manager down the road, perhaps CFT is the same guy. A convicted felon running wildlife who is buddies with Jezioro. Let's not forget how the same two fought to stop veterans legislation and this shafted the veterans. Ask some of the employees who work under this circus how they feel. Fire them both!

  • Cathy Timberlake

    Your article concerning Frank Jezioro only scratches the surface as to why the man, and he executive staff, should be dismissed from the offices they hold. Further investigation into this matter would revel that the Director only works about 10 hours a week, he lives in Farimont and only makes an appearance in the DNR offices once a week, if that often. He rarely, if ever, has any any input to anything that doesn't directly support his ego, and he has permitted his "Executive Assistant" (a glorified secretary), Emily Flemming, to not only interfere in DNR politics and decisions; but he has also appointed her to be the interim Chief of State Parks where she is single handedly poised to run into the ground. Her lack of decisive leadership, micromanagement of small unnecessary matters, and inferiority complex will be an even larger blight on this already beleaguered system. Mr. Jezioro is an ineffectual and absentee leader who has allowed many poor decisions to made in his name because he doesn't care about what happens to those men and women who work for him.

    • Jim

      Amen, your spot on. Get rid of them!

      Promote the good ones who are doing the right things in the DNR they got some good folks who work under this crew of clowns.

  • Tired of the Arrogance and Inept Mgmt

    I have personally visited a very successful deer farm in Barbour County. Well managed and profitable.

  • Tired of the Arrogance and Inept Mgmt

    Ok Gov Tomblin, send him packing gracefully. So get your strategist to develop an exit plan for Jezioro so you and him can save face. But get it done this week. I cannot believe how one butt hole can stymie so many progressive and necessary ideas, regulations and projects. We have regressed under his tenure. When is the DNR going to give us sportsman what we want? Many of us are very smart guys and gals. However, there is no active listening going on at the top! The annual spring meetings are a waste of time and precious funds. We attend, speak, write up our ideas on the easels and that's the end of it. We write to our delegates and they do their part of writing up bills only to have this political monarch block them and ensure their demise. Again, if this guy isn't gone by the end of next week, all of the sportsman in WV should March on the capital.

    • thornton

      "When is the DNR going to give us sportsman what we want?".....Gentlemen, I give you....arrogance. Not to mention a view that implies looking narrowly through a toilet paper roll. All that is missing is a stamping foot and a puffing out of the cheeks....much like a child not getting attention or a toy in Woolworths.

      The DNR should not be focused upon "sportsman".....the critters and the habitat should always trump the sportsman.
      The "sportsman" and others will then benefit well beyond their own interest or what puts a bend in their own tailgate. However, everyone can never get their own way...every time.

      Oh, well...perhaps these immature, self-focused whiners will next go to the capital steps and try holding their breathe until they turn blue....I'd kinda like to see that one!

      • learn the facts

        Again thronton u have your own matter how uneducated your remarks are.

        • thornton

          And again, you have your own version of the facts necessary to support your own agenda....focus inward as much as makes you comfortable. It appears the sad way to go for most folks today.

  • Catman

    Jezioro is a complete idiot and a cancer on the DNR. Looks after his cronies, in particular the bear hunters, who he refuses to let the DNR Officers enforce the road hunting laws pertaining to dog rigging. Hell some of the bear hunters will tell you they have him on speed dial and will call on the DNR Officers when they bother them. Just the kind of director they need, condones the bear hunters running all over everyones property, posted or not, road hunt the bear by rigging. If that's not enough these lazy non sportsman sit in their warm trucks, track the dogs by tracking collars, run the poor bear up a tree, follow their tracking collar to the bear and shoot it. These idiots and Jezioro need to have their lazy asses ran up a tree by a pack of dogs. Better yet Jezioro needs to be ran out of the DNR and someone put in that will look after landowner rights and equal enforcement of the law.

  • Jamie

    CWD transmission has been documented from state to state across the US from CO and WY by one method - captive deer farms. Cwd probably got in MD and VA from WV right across the border, Wyoming was one of the original CWD states and traded captive deer with CO. NM is a mystery. In WV deer farms were established between 2000 and 2004 without regulations held up in the legislature by the same people that insisted they be issued over the DNR wildlife peoples objections. CWD was discovered in WV in 2005. One deer farmer in Hampshire Co. abandoned his pen after all the deer escaped during that early period. Draw your own conclusion.

    • learn the facts

      Jamie you need to do a little more research there has Never been a licensed deer farm in Hampshire county. Just more untruth being throw out there.

      • Jamie

        There was a deer farm at Levels in Hampshire Co. it was abandoned during the period when there were no deer farm regulations. The owner then bought a pen in Hardy County and the DNR had to take over that pen.

        • learn the factsw

          Jamie,That was not a licensed deer farmer.Deer farmers deer are born behind fences.Not deer from the WILD that someone kept illegally .


          • Jamie

            He also had elk, they were seen in the bloomery area. They weren't born there and no one knows where he got any of the deer and elk.

      • Tired of the Arrogance and Inept Mgmt

        Exactly. Jamie is justin another example of the misinformation campaign going on in this state. Get the darn politics and tunnel vision out of our DNR program!!!!

  • Objective View

    I neither dislike or like Frank Jezioro, so, I have no axe to grind.
    This is posed as a question and not offered in a derogatory fashion, but here is his resume' for DNR Director:
    1) State Farm Claims Adjuster
    2) Bird hunter/dog owner
    3) Close personal friend and neighbor of Joe Manchin
    Apparently, No. 3 was the determining criteria for his selection.

    • thornton

      #2 would give him more cred on the needs of and problems facing the habitat and game species in WV than most any legislator.

      The neighbor deal may be a negative...I'm betting MoJoe never returns a rake.