Let’s start out by saying that all state budgets are suffering, and painful cuts have to be made, a decision no one likes to make. But Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas has taken an unusual step, reaching out and cutting one particular position, despite the express wishes of the legislature.

While the lawmakers are miffed from a political perspective – they’re the ones who passed the budget, and preserved certain positions in the Agency for Natural Resources. They object to the governor picking and choosing his cuts.

Communities and conservation groups are up-in-arms because this position has proven to be a big help in identifying and protecting environmentally important pieces of land. This particular wildlife biologist position gives these groups the technical expertise to help communities and groups decide what properties are appropriate for development, what kind of development, and what should be protected.

It’s the kind of expertise most communities, especially small rural towns, cannot afford on their own.

There are those who don’t like people like that getting in the way of their plans. Apparently, these are the people Gov. Douglas listens to.

Making this all the more suspicious, the position is funded primarily through a combination of a federal grant, as well as various permitting fees, so the savings to the general state budget is negligible