Department of Fish and Wildlife Defends Louisville Bats Partnership

by Dalton Main on April 28, 2011

The Office of the State Auditor says it was unable to assess the “reasonableness” of a luxury suite purchased by the Department of Fish and Wildlife last year.

The $3,900 suite at Louisville Slugger Field was listed under promotional expenses in the interest of spreading awareness for the department and its campaigns. But Terry Sebastian from the state Auditor’s office says the benefits from the suite were unclear.

“Fish and Wildlife could not provide definite evidence as to which employees attended the events or which if any of their business partners attended, so the benefit of Fish and Wildlife using public dollars to purchase this suite is unclear to us.”

The department of Fish and Wildlife says the partnership with the Louisville Bats was a great way to market themselves to a variety of people in the community who enjoy getting outdoors.

Sebastian says the auditor’s report might be different with clearer documentation of the benefits.  He says the purpose of the auditor’s statement is to encourage all agencies to properly document expenditures and their benefits.

The Office of the State Auditor criticized the Department of Fish and Wildlife for a partnership with the Louisville Bats that included a $3900 luxury suite at Slugger Field. But a spokesperson for Fish and Wildlife says the partnership was a great way to market themselves to a wide variety of people who enjoy getting outdoors

Mark Maraccini with the Department of Fish and Wildlife says the partnership garnered a great deal of exposure for the organization.

“Competition for people’s recreational time is more fierce than it’s ever been, we don’t get tax revenue here, we exist through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, and we compete for that recreational time, so marketing ourselves to a diverse audiences of people who like to get outdoors is very important to us.”

Marraccini says the partnership was an ideal way to promote a new urban fishing program called Fishing in Neighborhoods.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Auditor says the report encourages public agencies like Fish and Wildlife to clearly document the benefits of all expenditures.

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