Brenda Davis fired as Manager, Crab Management Program, Maryland Natural Resources Department

March 15, 2017: Brenda Davis was fired on Feb. 21, 2017, as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Crab Management Program Manager by DNR Secretary Mark Belton. Belton offered state legislators no explanation for the firing on Monday, March 13, 2017. Davis was fired by Belton days after watermen complained to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan about her. Belton repeatedly declined to justify the dismissal during a joint hearing with the State House and State Senate Environmental Committees, as Democratic legislators questioned whether the termination of Davis, a 28-year state employee, was politically motivated. Belton, who said he could not comment on personnel matters, said that critics were “trying to make connections where there are none” and that Hogan had nothing to do with the dismissal. “It was my decision, and my decision alone,” he said. Davis was fired Feb. 21, about one week after Hogan met with Dorchester County, Md., watermen who had been pressing the DNR to change its regulations to allow them to catch smaller crabs in late summer. The department, using annual crab-population surveys and scientific analysis, determined that the change would run counter to its goal of ensuring sustainable harvests. Davis, who made policy recommendations but did not have final say about regulations, was six years away from retirement and she was saving money to send two high school children to college when she was terminated. “The only information I got was that my services were no longer needed,” she said.

Attribution: The Washington Post, The Bay Journal

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