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New Mexico game and fish director resigns

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The director of New Mexico's Game and Fish Department announced his resignation Wednesday, but the department remained tightlipped about his departure.

Word that Jim Lane would be stepping down was first made public after a special, closed meeting held by the Game Commission in Albuquerque.

The meeting agenda did not list any specifics, only that commissioners would be discussing personnel issues involving the hiring, promotion, resignation or investigation of several employees.

The department released a statement Wednesday afternoon that did not mention Lane and said only that Assistant Director R.J. Kirkpatrick would soon begin serving as acting director.

Lane was a prominent figure in a series of articles published in the Los Alamos Monitor last summer relating to a controversial stance the NM Fish and Game Commission took in relation to the future managment of the Valles Caldera.

Lane did not return messages seeking comment that were left at his office.

Lane was selected by the commission to serve as director in October 2011. He had worked previously as the chief of the department's Wildlife Management Division.

Before joining the game agency in New Mexico, Lane worked for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He received a master's degree in forestry from the University of Kentucky.

Lane is credited with establishing new rules for big game and for getting more youth involved in hunting and fishing, but some sportsmen say he did not do enough to expand the opportunities for New Mexico residents to earn hunting tags and did little to improve access to public information regarding the department's operations.

"Transparency has really fallen by the way side," said Joel Gay, a spokesman for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. "Hopefully his successor will do better."

The department did not say when a search for a permanent director would begin.