Former Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission member Julie Hebert attributed her dismissal from the governing board earlier this year to her April resolution supporting Congressman Garret Graves' bill giving control of red snapper management to the Gulf states, a New Orleans-based website reported.
"I said, 'You know what? As a commission, we need to support this,'" Hebert told NOLA.com. "Well, I got absolutely no feedback from the (Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries). I asked for feedback, and it was coming, it was coming, it was coming."
The resolution received unanimous approval by the commission. LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon recently issued at statement opposing the Graves bill, citing lack of federal funding.
This week, Graves told LouisianaSportsman.com that Melancon's opposition was "politcal crap."
Hebert told NOLA.com she repeatedly asked for LDWF input on the resolution of support for Graves' HR 3094, but finally gave up.
"Just a few days before the (April) commission meeting, I reached out and said, 'I still haven't heard anything from you guys,'" Hebert said. "They finally sent back something that was so fluffy, it said nothing.
"So I just made my own (resolution). I sent it over, and right before the meeting, Charlie Melancon said, 'I need to ask a favor. I need you to table that resolution.' I said, 'Why Charlie?' He said, 'Well, there are some poison pills in that resolution.' ... I said, 'Charlie, please tell me what they are. I've been asking for weeks.'
"He said, 'I don't know, but I'm being told there are.'"
Melancon told NOLA.com he requested Hebert delay but not table the resolution.
"Items on the agenda are supposed to be there 72 hours before the meeting date," Melancon said. "This covertly shows up two day before (the April meeting). I didn't even see anything on it yet. She never had any conversation with me about it, nor had any of the other members of the commission.
"If it was something she had been working on for a period of time, there was no reason why she couldn't have shared it with me. I think that there was some politics outside of the department, and that maybe she was doing a favor for a friend. I don't know."
Click here to read the full story to learn Hebert's response to Melancon's accusation.
Hebert was originally appointed in October 2015 by outgoing Gov. Bobby Jindal, and her appointment was initially renewed by sitting Gov. Jon Bel Edwards. The LDWF sent out a press release announcing Hebert's reappointment in February.
However, Edwards' decision was rescinded after the red snapper resolution was approved by the commission.
Hebert told NOLA.com she believes her dismissal was driven by her refusal to drop support of Graves' red snapper legislation.
"They're just trying to get people up there they control, I guess," Hebert said. "I thought the whole role of the commission was to have continuity between administrations. It's supposed to take some of the political element out of it."
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