Mr. Waldman’s letter regarding Mike Zagata’s credentials is why qualified people aren’t interested in serving the public. It’s very easy to be critical and disregard a person’s positive contributions.
Rather than take one 18-year-old article from the New York Times, written by folks who weren’t happy that a Republican was elected governor, one should look at his entire body of accomplishments. Mike grew up in West Davenport, receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology and a doctorate in wildlife ecology. He successfully coached, and taught biology, conservation and algebra, at Oneonta High, going on to teach wildlife and forestry at University of Maine-Orono.
He later became the field director for The Wildlife Society and was the National Audubon Society’s director of federal relations and was involved in securing the passage of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1980. Mike helped form a subcommittee on Renewable Natural Resources at the National Research Council.
He was recruited by Tenneco to implement the policies and procedures to comply with environmental laws and regulations, resulting in recognition from The National Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited and The Conservation Fund. Since being DEC commissioner, Mike was the president of the Ruffed Grouse Society. Mike’s lifetime dedication to environmental causes has resulted in his induction into New York’s Outdoor Hall of Fame and the Offshore Energy Hall Of Fame.
Our community should be proud of Mike’s accomplishments. We should use his expertise, knowledge and contacts to help formulate a plan that encourages business and industries to be good stewards of the environment while providing good-paying job opportunities.
Mike’s dedication to education, environment and community has made Oneonta a better place. Maybe Mr. Waldman should thank Mike rather than belittling his accomplishments.
Robert Harlem Jr.