Ex-DNR official speaks out after sick leave scandal

Ex-DNR official speaks out after sick leave scandal

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Travis Loyd earned almost $4,000 last year as a professional bass fisherman, entering tournaments in six states from Lake Okeechobee in Florida to Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee. However, he was also taking home more than $90,000 as a deputy director of the DNR.

Loyd's timesheets show that over three and a half months last summer, he worked just one day and claimed to be on sick leave for 44 straight days.

SEE RELATED: Top DNR Official resigns after FOX 32 investigation

When we confronted the DNR on Thursday, Loyd resigned. A spokesman told us the agency took action as soon as the situation came to light. But today -- former DNR fisheries manager Mike Conlin -- who spent more than 40 years with the DNR until he left four years ago, says that periods of absence like Loyd's needed a supervisor's approval.

"I very much think that whoever signed his leave slips is culpable. They are responsible for giving that person the few vacation days and 44 sick days, as you've reported. And had to know that, hey, he's a deputy director, [he's] supposed to be a key player, right? ...Where is he, what's he doing," said Conlin.

Conlin doesn't think Loyd should be replaced. He says the DNR needs more boots on the ground -- as he calls them, worker bees, -- not deputy directors.

"Especially in these very tight times when you've got nobody at a lot of state parks, when they've got no money to operate, they didn't have money to buy toilet paper," Conlin said.

Last year Governor Quinn's budget called for a thirteen percent cut in spending by the DNR. A spokesperson for the governor declined comment Thursday when Travis Loyd resigned.

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