2008 Bear Hunt Comes Back to Haunt Alaska Fish and Game Official
The hiring of Correy Rossi seems to be coming under fire again as a controversial move. When Rossi applied for the position as assistant commissioner of "abundance management," a newly created position at Alaska's Fish and Game, he used the Governor at the time, Sarah Palin's parents as his number one references. He was hired in January of 2009, for a position that netted over $100,000 a year. Rossi was also a big game guide, and enthusiastic hunter. There were questions about his education and whether he met the criteria needed for the job, yet he was hired and would work in that position for over two years.
The investigation was started by Utah, Oregon and Alaska investigators when they reviewed 2008 documents. The investigators did a broad search instead of looking directly under Rossi's name as that would have raised a red flag that they were searching for him, since he was privy to the Fish and Game database.
In June 2008 Rossi had taken two non-residents on a black bear hunt. Later he had four bears sealed, and claimed that all four were his, then signed off on that paperwork. Utah resident, Robert "Bruce" Hubbard, admitted to killing two of the bears, even though he only had one bear tag. Oregon resident, and friend of Rossi, Duane Stroupe admitted killing another of the bears. Stroupe and Hubbard and an unknown hunter had been on an unguided hunt with big game guide Joe Dilley. Joe Dilley's signature even shows up on the paperwork. Rossi says he never met Dilley and admitted it was his handwriting on the papers. As the investigation continues, investigators hope to find out if Dilley is involved at all.
Rossi's boss at Game and Fish, Cora Campbell found out about the Rossi criminal investigation in mid-December. Campbell let Rossi know she knew there was an investigation going on, but no disciplinary actions were taken. Before charges were filed this past week Rossi resigned.
"I didn't know the circumstances of the investigation or whether he would be charged with anything," Campbell said. "And so I waited for the troopers to complete their investigation and let me know that they would be bringing charges before I addressed the personnel issues."
Campbell was notified Tuesday that charges were going to be filed against Rossi. Campbell went to talk to him, he offered his resignation and she said that would be for the best.
Game and Fish would like to keep Rossi's incident separate from the program he was working on, that they are afraid may come under fire now, which include plans to snare bears to help the moose population. Fish and Game is reminding people that this is about an individual, not the programs, and that Rossi's hunt happened before he worked for Alaska Game and Fish. From The Bellingham Herald and The News Tribune.