Sem­per Fi

Jeff Crow knows when to serve

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

IF YOU want to see what makes a good school, go meet the prin­ci­pal. If an Army com­pany is run­ning smoothly, it has a high-speed, low-drag lieu­tenant and a first sergeant to keep him in line. If a restau­rant is do­ing out­stand­ing work, credit the chef and the owner. When look­ing to give credit or place blame, “the top” is al­ways a good place to start.

That’s why the Jeff Crow era at the state’s Game and Fish Com­mis­sion will likely be re­mem­bered as a suc­cess. Just as the Mike Knoedl ad­min­is­tra­tion is re­mem­bered to­day. The two men led the state’s out­doors out­fit through some ma­jor suc­cesses, and at least one ma­jor scare.

Re­mem­ber the days when deer were rare in Arkansas, and a dozen head of men would hunt one track in the ground? Re­mem­ber when tur­keys and bear were scarce? There’s even a largescale ef­fort to bring back the bob­white quail now, and all the best to any­body in­volved. Now the state is fac­ing the chronic wast­ing disease in the deer and elk herds. The brass at the Game and Fish Com­mis­sion has done so much good for so many years for hunters and fish­er­men, that many of us as­sume they’ll get us through CWD, too. With the help of prov­i­dence and sci­ence.

ALL HIS years in the Ma­rine Corps must have taught Jeff Crow not only when and how to serve but also when not to, and when to step aside for new blood. Both in his com­ing in as direc­tor of the state’s Game and Fish Com­mis­sion in July of last year and his go­ing out as of Fe­bru­ary of next year, he’s been true to the Corps’ motto: Sem­per Fi, or Al­ways Faith­ful.

Jeff Crow says he doesn’t see any point in hang­ing around any more, so he isn’t. It’s as sim­ple and du­ti­ful as that.

“I think it’s just the stress of what that po­si­tion holds, the ev­ery­day ins and outs,” opines Steve Cook, chair­man of the state’s Game and Fish Com­mis­sion. Or as Jeff Crow him­self put it: “It’s just time.”

Chair­man Cook agreed. “I get enough phone calls and emails,” he says, “but I’m sure [Jeff Crow’s] pile of re­turn phone calls, emails, voice mails and text mes­sages is prob­a­bly twice as much as I can fathom.” Enough was enough, Jeff Crow wisely de­cided. It was time for him to go. So he went.

Oh, the trou­bles Jeff Crow has seen dur­ing his now self-ab­bre­vi­ated ten­ure. There was that break­down in com­mu­ni­ca­tion when Game and Fish in­au­gu­rated a new sys­tem for is­su­ing hunt­ing and fish­ing li­censes. And did Jeff Crow ever hear about it—from hunters and fish­er­men in every cor­ner of a state that abounds in them. This fall, hunters are fum­bling around with 8-by-11 sheets of pa­per stuffed into wal­lets. It re­ally isn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, but hunters have it good in this state. Any lit­tle in­con­ve­nience is an ex­cuse to com­plain. (Can’t com­plain about the deer herd, can’t com­plain about the num­ber of tur­keys, can’t com­plain about duck sea­son dates, can’t com­plain about rules and regs . . . . So we’ll com­plain about sheets of pa­per.)

Jeff Crow isn’t above ad­mit­ting his role in that mi­nor snafu. In­deed, he may be his own tough­est critic.

BUT IF he had his mis­steps, as he read­ily ac­knowl­edges, Jeff Crow also had his suc­cesses. For ex­am­ple, there was the calm, de­lib­er­ate way in which Game & Fish dealt with the threat posed by CWD. The G&FC’s staff was wor­ried about the disease’s be­com­ing even more per­va­sive than it seemed at the time.

“Chronic wast­ing disease,” Jeff Crow re­calls now, “was prob­a­bly one of the big­gest crises that our agency has ever ex­pe­ri­enced. To come through that on the other side with all the ter­ri­ble news that kept rolling in, it would have been very easy for our agency, our staff and our com­mis­sion to panic. Our mea­sured re­sponse and go­ing the ex­tra mile to make sure that we were do­ing sound prac­tices, I was pleased with the way that turned out.” And he should have been.

Well done, gyrene. Right or wrong, up or down in the pub­lic’s and es­pe­cially in sports­men’s eyes, you’ve done your duty and more, giv­ing full credit to oth­ers while shoul­der­ing much of the blame your­self. Al­low us to thank you for your ser­vice and wish you well. You’ve earned the sim­plest and high­est praise that can be given any gov­ern­ment worker: You’ve been a pub­lic ser­vant.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.