The Idaho Fish and Game Department is hoping that the ouster of two employees will send a message to other workers that when they make deals with software development contractors, they need to do so in writing. After an investigation that included the state Attorney General's Office, agency staff found that 15 oral contracts were made over a four-year period, using $212,000 of state funds.
"It would be like me phoning you and saying, 'Can you do some work for me? Thanks,'" said Fish and Game spokesman Mike Keckler. "It violates our policies here."
The investigation began in November. Two employees have since resigned, and a third was suspended for 10 days without pay. The matter has been forwarded to the Legislative Services Office, which is conducting an audit of the agency.
Because the matter involves personnel matters, agency directors were unable to comment much.
"This is a highly regrettable situation for Idaho Fish and Game, and we apologize to the hunters who support the agency," said interim director Terry Mansfield. He said that while the agency has policies in place that require written contracts, it's one thing to have them and another to make sure that employees actually follow them.