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National Park Service Ordered To Reinstate Sitka National Historical Park Superintendent

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National Park Service officials, who fired the superintendent of Sitka National Historical Park in 2010 because she refused a transfer, have been ordered to reinstate her with back pay.

The ruling, handed down by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board last week, was welcomed by the superintendent, Mary Miller.

“I am so grateful to my family, friends, colleagues and members of the community who have supported me throughout this arduous process. This decision has restored my faith in the system and I’m looking forward to getting back to work to continue building agency relations with the community,” Ms. Miller said in a prepared statement.

The 8-page ruling revolved around the Park Service's decision in 2010 to shift Superintendent Miller from the historical park in Sitka, Alaska, to a new position as Alaska Native Affairs Liaison in Anchorage, 500 miles away.

But the superintendent, who had been at the historical park for three years, said such a transfer would prove a hardship to her, that she was not qualified for the role, and that the impending removal of her from Sitka National Historical Park was '“tainted by discrimination”' based on her race, sex, and physical disability."

In response, the Park Service fired her in August 2010, found a person to serve as the liaison and another to take over the superintendency at Sitka National Historical Park.

In gathering testimony on Ms. Miller's appeal of that decision, the Merit Board heard from the Park Service how it "had a high regard for the appellant’s performance as the superintendent in Sitka. Indeed, agency witnesses testified that the agency relied upon the appellant’s strengths and accomplishments as a Superintendent as the basis for directing her reassignment to the Liaison position in Anchorage," the board noted.

Furthermore, it added in its ruling, "we find that it did not promote the efficiency of the service to direct the appellant to take the position in Anchorage against her will and to remove her from employment altogether when she declined the position. As a result of the agency’s actions, it lost an apparently valued and successful employee, and created two vacancies that the agency had to fill after her removal."

The board did not examine whether the reassignment "was tainted by discrimination," as Ms. Miller alleged, noting that she did not prove that claim during an initial hearing before an administrative judge.

The Park Service has until April 21 to reinstate Ms. Miller as superintendent of the historical park.

Comments

Just pointing out that it was an evil practice.

A point that had nothing to do with this thread. Oh, and BTW - I always sleep well.


I did not say that this was a case of patronage. Just pointing out that it was an evil practice. But I guess I'm just old fashioned and still believe in right and wrong and honesty and don't care to spend my time twisting and torturing what others say to try to prove a point that is possibly beyond comprehension.

Night, night, friend. Sleep well.


Although it sounds as if you accepted the job understanding that to be a condition of employment.

Of course I did. It (employment at will) is (or should be) the condition of every job.

Political patronage is evil, isn't it?

Do you have any evidence this is a case of "political patronage"? Or, like most your arguments, is this just a strawman?


Congratulations. Although it sounds as if you accepted the job understanding that to be a condition of employment. On the other hand, I can't believe that had the situation been different, you'd have quietly gone off with a big smile. Should we return to the days when in many states, cities, and even the nation public employees would not register to vote because they knew that if the other party was elected to office, they'd be out of a job if they had registered as one of the enemy? Wasn't that one of the major reasons behind civil service laws?

Some of us actually believe in something called "justice." A treasured value that is unfortunately lacking in too many circles these days. Political patronage is evil, isn't it? Or is it another of those values held dear by those who seek absolute power to enhance their corruption?

Have a happy evening.


I have been been let go without cause. I was eligible for unemployment and didn't apply. My case was not "lost" as there was no case. I was hired at will and let go at will. I didn't kick and screem or sue, I moved on and improved my life.


Would and have what? Of course in many states being fired for just cause makes one ineligible for unemployment benefits and lawsuits are pretty much out of the question when one has been fired for a justified cause. So you must have realized that your case was lost from the start, eh?


I would and I have. And you know what, despite being eligible for unemployment benefits - I didn't take them. Nor did I sue anyone.


Yup. But how long would it take for you to start appealing or screaming in frustrated anger? By your apparent standard, anyone fired from a job whether justly or unjustly should simply accept it and go cheerfully smiling into another day. Would you -- or could you?


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