In a reminder that they are public servants given a broad responsibility to manage national parks in the public's best interests, National Park Service Director John Jarvis has reminded his far-flung staff to adhere to high ethical standards. In a system-wide memo sent out October 28, the director both endorsed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's recent order pertaining to "ethical culture" and let it be know he would hold his managers and employees accountable for lapses.
As I begin my role as Director and Ethics Counselor for the National Park Service, I am taking this opportunity to clearly state my expectations and my support for Secretary Salazar’s recent Secretarial Order on “Enhancing and Promoting an Ethical Culture within the Department of the Interior.” This order outlines the Secretary’s expectations for ethical behavior by Department of the Interior employees. I will hold management officials and employees of the Service accountable to ensure the Secretary’s expectations are fulfilled. If you have not yet reviewed the order, a copy can be found at http://elips.doi.gov/app_so/act_getfiles.cfm?order_number=3288
The public has placed its trust in us to carry out the mission of the Service in preserving the natural and cultural resources of the national park system and in all of our external programs and partner activities (local, State, National and international). It is important that we take this responsibility seriously and perform our duties in a way that fosters high ethical standards. An important component of an ethical culture is adherence to all standards of conduct that define acceptable behavior and conduct of Federal employees, including such areas as use of public office; use of government property, time, information; prohibited activities including prohibited personnel practices; adherence to merit principles in employment; and a variety of ethics prohibitions unique to DOI employees. More information on these may be found in the DOI Ethics Guide for Employees available at the Department’s Ethics Office website (www.doi.gov/ethics).
I expect management officials to work closely with their ethics officials to ensure that the appropriate ethics authorities and rules are followed when carrying out their day to day activities for the Service. These rules are complex, and they can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the situation. Only authorized ethics officials may interpret ethics rules and statutes and provide reliable and protective advice.
The Service has designated ethics officials who are available to assist and provide you with ethics guidance and advice. A list of these officials can be found on InsideNPS at http://www.inside.nps.gov/waso/custommenu.cfm?lv=3&prg=37&id=7550
Public service is a public trust. By working together, each of us can help ensure the integrity of the Service and fulfill the highest expectations of the American people for the ethical conduct of public servants who serve our nation.