Traveler's View: National Park Service Needs To Improve Its Transparency

Why won't National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis agree to an interview? NPS photo.

It's not often that the Interior Department calls, and so when caller ID indicated it was someone in the department calling, I answered the phone. The funny thing about that call, though, was it was going on six years late in coming.

The caller worked in the Office of Inspector General's Freedom of Information Office. Back in November 2009, you see, the Traveler had filed a Freedom of Information Act request into how the National Park Service handled an investigation into alleged embezzlement from the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site.

Ten days after we submitted that request, a letter arrived announcing that the request had been received and assigned a case number.

Ten MONTHS later we received another letter, this one apologizing for the long delay in meeting that request. Did we, it went on, still want to pursue the matter?

Yes, we dutifully replied. And then the years of silence ensued.

This despite President Barack Obama's Inauguaral-day pledge that his administration would be the most transparent in history, and that the FOIA process in particular was vitally important.

"The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails," the president wrote in a proclamation endorsing FOIA. "The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by the disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative of abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve."

Well, the years of silence were finally broken the other week when that caller from the Office of Inspector General asked whether we were still interested pursuing the request for the Hubbell investigation. "No," I replied, "but I do wonder why it took six years to hear from you?"

The answer, she said, was a staffing shortage that created a tremendous backlog of FOIA requests to handle.

Now, it's worth noting that most of the information we were seeking was long ago secured pursuant to a FOIA lawsuit filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, who thankfully shared it with us. It should be noted, too, that PEER only sued after its FOIA request for the information was ignored. It seems like it's become almost de-facto that normal FOIA requests are ignored, a strategy that leaves the average citizen with little hope of seeing the requested documents, unless they have the wherewithal to sue.

Even more details - most extremely troubling in nature - were subsequently provided in Paul Berkowitz's 2011 book, The Case of the Indian Trader. (As a relevant side-note, Indian Trader Billy Malone's lawsuit is still making its way through the courts, and scheduled for oral arguments in the 9th Circuit on March 14 of this year.)

Nevertheless, this long-overdue response to our FOIA request into the Hubbell Trading Post scandal brought to mind a long list of other requests the Traveler has made for information from the National Park Service -- both in the form of documents as well as basic requests for interviews with the Obama administration's Park Service director, Jon Jarvis.

While most of our requests have been met, we're still hoping for an interview with Director Jarvis. Among the questions we'd like to ask:

* What, if anything, did he do to help Rob Danno in his whistleblower case at Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park that derailed his Park Service career for nearly 10 years? Why is the superintendent that Danno's case revolved around still a superintendent?

* Does Director Jarvis support the proposed management plan for the Yosemite Valley that critics have said doesn't get to the core of the valley's human problem?

* Did he read Sen. Tom Coburn's report, Parked! How Congress' Misplaced Priorities Are Trashing Our National Treasures and what is his opinion of it?

* As secretary of the National Park Foundation, did Director Jarvis support that group's licensing of its name to a company that sells after-market off-road equipment for pickup trucks and SUVs, and to another that makes air fresheners? More specifically, does he believe trucks designed for off-road travel promote environmental consciousness in the parks, and do chemically created wafts of park scents entice visitors to the parks?

* What does Director Jarvis think of congressional efforts to permit logging in areas of Yosemite National Park that were burned last year by the Rim Fire?

* What, if anything, can the director do to help the plight of seasonal rangers, as outlined in a recent Traveler column by PJ Ryan?

These are just an easily grabbed handful of topics that we'd like to discuss with the director. Unfortunately, we're presented with a directorship that is all but silent, publicly at least, on a range of issues that go to the heart of how the National Park System is managed.

Traveler has had a standing request in to the director's office for an interview, and been rebuffed time and again for reasons we can't pinpoint. Director Jarvis's most recent predecessors, Mary Bomar and Fran Mainella, weren't as hard to pin down.

True, politics of the day, and legal impediments, can require a measure of restraint from the Park Service director. But as manager of the world's greatest National Park System, with oversight of a neaerly $3 billion annual budget, and with a workforce of roughly 20,000, his stance/thoughts on a range of topics that are of interest to both the general public and the National Park Service staff deserves transparency and response.


Thanks for this important article, Kurt. As someone who was ignored after repeatedly requesting a simple budget summary and organization chart at my local park, it's hard not to come away with an impression of arrogant NPS management that appears to have something to hide. They love to play the budget card, but prefer it remains face-down to the taxpayers.

I have one more important question to add to your list for Director Jarvis, should he ever get in touch: How can he justify promoting a park superintendent who was referred to a federal District Attorney for prosecution, when the appearance of serious conflict of interest was so strong?

"[DOI Office of Inspector General] Investigators eventually concluded that Uberuaga 'made false statements or concealed material facts' about the transaction. In late 2008, they referred the case to federal prosecutors in Seattle, who declined to prosecute."

The author of the above news story told me DOJ declined because of a heavy backlog of Homeland Security cases.

Why is NPT left out there alone as the only entity asking these questions? Where is ANPR? Where is the NPS retirees group? Why do they care more about preserving the NPS's Dudley Do-Right image instead of insisting that image be reality? I guess it is the psychology of the enabler. Although the sins committed here are lesser evils, the mindset of those who control these groups isn't that different than the University of Pennsylvania officials in the Sandusky case or of the Catholic church looking out for its predatory priests. Their loyalty to the group is so strong they defend it, and deflect blame, even when its actions are repugnant.
Kurt, I am with you on the "Traveler View". It was right on. It is simply unacceptable for issues like "The Case of the Indian Trader", to be allowed to drag on. All the issues you cite are important, it is disconcerting to think public service officials feel they are not obligated to share important decisions with their employers, the American taxpayer. I do think there maybe some legal restraints and some real budgetary issues, however, I think it is used more often, than not, as an excuse. Thank you for this very important "Travelers View".
It's not just the director's office that is silent. The decisions and decision-making process are kept secret all the way down to the park level. All topics on hiring, management, budget priorities, and a host of others are kept closed to a select few people who have all known each other for decades. Employees who have some stake in these areas, either because the decisions affect them personally or affect their work, are not allowed to know how or why a decision is made, or sometimes even who made it. Employees are warned that if they want to get ahead, they should not ask questions. A sad state of affairs for a public agency.
The problem is widespread. A friend tried to get a FOI request from Big Bend NP and was told it would take a lot of money besides a lot of time.
I just sent this to the NPS retirees list serve which addresses some of the NPT comments. Re: [PLW Update] Re: diversity priorities in NPS hiring, more from"AView from the Overlook", a very sensitive issue " conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." The above statement has an inherent contradiction that managers and the public have wrestled with since 1916. How do you preserve the resources unimpaired and at the same time provide for their enjoyment and use? But despite the contradiction it is at the same time the savior of the national parks themselves. Without balance between the two we would have few national parks and none would have survived for long because without use and enjoyment the parks would have few supporters. At the same time if users destroy the purposes for which they were created they would no longer have any value and had just as well be turned over to the recreation industry for management. As we all know the pendulum between use and preservation has swung back and forth, but for most of my career preservation has been supported by congress and the public. Currently I fear the pendulum is swinging towards use versus preservation. Commercial organizations seem to have increasing political clout. The internet has enabled user groups to organize and weaken or oppose park protections. I am sure park management feels those pressures everyday and it seems the NPS is losing more and more control over the parks as we see in the news on a regular basis. I have been a mountain climber and as a group they have often shown little respect for preservation values. Mountain bikers are flouting park protection rules in many local and regional parks by building illegal trails and daring manager to do anything about it. And now the NPS is embracing single track mountain biking in many areas. In sufficient numbers they drive other user groups away from popular trails. Lately the boating community is challenging the NPS restrictions on rivers important for wildlife and the opportunity to see a river without a constant stream of river runners. Unfortunately I don't see much resistance from traditional park supporters like the Wilderness Society, National Parks and Recreation Association, and the Sierra Club. The NPS cannot do it's job of preserving national park resources without their help. Incidentally when was the last time you heard anyone say "the parks are being loved to death".
Kevin Fitzgerald, former asst superintendent of GRSM, told a member of the Southern Forest Watch that it would be illegal to produce copies of public comments on the backcountry fee proposal. That person was supposed to disappear but retained a lawyer and filed a FOIA. Then they told that person the comments would cost $1200. Reason being, it didn't suit their crooked agenda. What was the result? The public comments were 18-1 against the unpopular fee. This is YOUR NPS doing what it does best. Manipulating data and bullying people. And it comes from the top of the moustache club.
I don't think that it would be much of a leap to assume that these practices in "transparency" are modeled by those on up the food chain, far above Jarvis. A survival skill to hang on to careers, character be damned, in this environment. Eats people up from the inside, I believe.
Excellent post by Roger Siglin. "Nothing is safe that is dollarable . . . " - John Muir
Does anyone know how long it takes for the Department of Interior Inspector General to process non-FOIA complaints? I have made several FOIA requests with the NPS and so far I have not received any documents. According to the Open Government Act of 2008, Federal Agencies only have a 20 day time limit to respond or there is no charge for the documents. Have any of you contacted your Congressman or Senators about the NPS ignoring FOIA requests and request for interviews?
Kurt, have you contacted any major news media like "60 Minutes" or Fox News or CNN about the NPS and its lack of transparency?
I can tell you that several of us in the Smokies have contacted 60 minutes and CNN to detail the abuses and FOIA bullying by the NPS. No response. No one wants to lay blame on the media darlings that are the NPS. They are too busy running the Ken Burns series.
Kurt, you don't have to ask Jarvis for his opinion of Sen. Colburn's report. His opinion was published under the letterhead of the Coalition of NPS Retires. I wouldn't be surprised if their reaction wasn't researched and drafted by people on the taxpayer dime in DOI headquarters. You can't produce that kind of reaction on the same day a major report like that is released without plenty of foreknowledge of what it would say. There was at least, to be sure, some cooperation between those in government and those in the CNPSR to produce their reaction to the Colburn report --government acting as an interest group on its on behalf --pretty unseemly.
Oh, and responding to your question about why Jarvis won't agree to an interview? Because he is a coward, just like Dale Ditmanson and the other desk jocky flunkies he hires in his moustache mold. Those elite ruling kings are not to be bothered with simple park users. I can tell you stories about that brand of arrogance from Ditmanson and Fitzgerald here in the Smokies. They are gone now, surely to be replaced by the next breed of yellowtail. Jewell had an opportunity to clean house over there. Like that was going to happen.
I'll never understand what some people have against mustaches.
On a lighter note some of you may remember when a new park ranger could not grow a mustache unless he had one before he was hired. Also side burns could not extend past the middle of the ear. Beards were strictly forbidden. Even as late as 1976 I was ordered to shave off a beard. I must admit it was ugly.
Kurt, if he ever did sit down for an interview I don't think there is any way Director Jarvis would give a straight answer as to why Dan Smith and Kevin Brandt are still superintendents after their attempted crucifixion of Ranger Robert Danno. He would probably say something to the effect that he can't comment on personnel matters. But history shows that when they want to they can take action. If it were up to me the next Association of National Park Rangers Rendezvous would be in Hampton Rhodes and the public service project would be a protest at Colonial NHP so that the visitors, volunteers, and partners would know exactly what kind of man runs that place. I would suggest that if the Coalition of NPS Retirees wants to do something to mitigate the wide spread opinion that they are enablers of this kind of abuse they should give their 2014 George B. Hartzog to Robert Danno. I can think of no one who fits the stated criteria for the award better. And it would send a important message that the NPS needs to turn away from the insular corrupt culture that its upper management is known for. Danno's case is completely settled now so for someone else to be named would tell us a lot about that organization.
Amen, Perp!
Based on my experiences with retired NPS folks on this board, I wouldn't hold my breath that any of them would stand up for the right thing for Danno. They are not denizens of that culture. many ARE that culture. All it takes is a few dozen good men to do nothing to allow evil to perpetuate. Again, I know there are some good folks in the NPS. I'm still like Diogenes awaiting an honest manager, retired or not.


Please tread carefully, and don't use a broadbrush approach. There are many fine individuals among the ranks of NPS retirees, many who have long supported the Traveler and helped when they could. Many would indeed stand up for Danno, and I know some who are greatly concerned with the current state of the NPS.

Indeed tread lightly with respect to survival skills in maintaining a career anywhere in government. That's where we're at in the culture. Yep, there are many good and descent folks starting out that bend when family and other personal responsibilities are at risk in doing the right thing. That opportunity has to come from the top, I believe, when that eventually does come (I'm hoping) there will be more than a flood of very appreciative people down the ranks. Does anyone see anyone on the National Stage willing to step up and take the arrows from the mob to present a different path? I do but even on here there is much fun made of those individuals. Yep, they are out there.
Kurt, As you will see, the bottom of my post says, "I know there are some good folks in the NPS". That is not a broad brush. But regarding honest NPS managers, I stand firm in my personal experience that I am still waiting to run across one. And that is from my personal dealings both in the Smokies and on this forum. Many retired NPS folks here are first to attack and attempt to discredit anyone that disagrees with the NPS. And that is the cultural problem that Jarvis has cultivated and apparently perpetuates. The rank and file NPS folks are some good people. That is not of whom we are speaking here.
Could there possibly be some trickle down going on:)? Am just pointing out the culture that the top managers of our parks live in. A crazy place and getting crazier...
We have a saying in Wyoming: Shoot, Shovel & Shut Up. The National Park Service has adopted this policy.
Gee. Smokiesbackpacker, I'm sorry we don't live up to your expectations. I suggest you go back and read my review of Danno's book and then ask yourself if I did the right thing. Rick
Director Jarvis has failed in his leadership responsibilities and this fact is reflected in the consistently plummeting results of the annual employee survey of the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government. This year, the NPS dropped again to 200th out of 300 tested agencies. More to the point, the NPS “leadership” was rated by its own employees 250th out of 300. Director Jarvis tellingly blamed these failures on the impacts of “sequestration,” the government shutdown and overall poor budgets. However, every rated federal agency in the survey experienced these same conditions and 200 of them still rated higher than the NPS, despite the many structural advantages of the NPS. Of course, the NPS has many advantages, like: managing our national treasures and places where people come to form lasting memories, a dedicated and educated work force, which is mission driven and so much more. Yet, the NPS work force is extremely unhappy with its leadership, that is, Jarvis and his management selections. Of course, he has never addressed these leadership failures in the survey, pivoting to the overall poor ranking. Good leaders never run from the “bad news,” the embrace it and use it as fuel to make the organization better. Just take a quick look at a short listing of failures under Jarvis: 1) Stalled / Impeded media FOIA requests for years, regarding the Mt. Rainer concessionaire who bought his Asst. Superintendent, David Uberuaga’s personal home for a grossly inflated price, then tried to cover it up. Park whistle blowers disclosed the conflict of interest and malfeasance. 2) Promoted David Uberuaga to the Superintendent of Grand Canyon, managing a park with massive concession issues. 3) Derailed Grand Canyon plan to eliminate plastic water bottles from the park, when he received complaints from Coca Cola. Director Jarvis denied this and cited safety concerns, but PEER exposed his false statements through documents received through a FOIA request. Director Jarvis had to reverse his decision and alone the park to exclude water bottles. 4) Director Jarvis did nothing when it was discovered through an OIG investigation that Gettysburg Superintendent, John Latschar had used his government computer to view, download and store massive amounts of porn on his government computer. A whistle blower disclosed this fact to the Washington Post, embarrassing Director Jarvis and exposing the workings of the “Superintendents Club.” Director Jarvis then had to reassign Latschar to another park service unit, maintaining another example of a clear Superintendent double standard, and only took the action after the case was disclosed to the public. 5) Initiated and maintained an unethical case against Indian Trader, Billy Malone, even after it was confirmed through both NPS and DOIOIG investigation that the NPS conducted a bad faith investigation. The NPS is still fighting Mr. Malone and has still not made this right. 6) Maintained the unethical case against the Chief of the United States Park Police, Teresa Chambers until MSPB ordered the NPS to reinstate her and pay her over two million dollars of back pay, citing reprisal for her whistle blowing. Even after the MSPB order, the NPS fought against Chief Chambers reinstatement. 7) Maintained the unethical case against Chief Ranger Rob Danno, who blew the whistle on Superintendent, Kevin Brandt and past Director, Mainella for authorizing the unlawful tree cutting along the C&O Canal by billionaire owner of the Washington Redskins, Dan Snyder. The NPS settled due to the involvement of the Office of Special Counsel and PEER. Of course, Superintendent, Brandt is still the Superintendent, another double standard. 8) Maintained the unethical case against Superintendent, Mary Miller at Sitka National Historic park, until MSPB ordered the NPS to reinstate her as Superintendent and pay her back pay, due to the discrimination she suffered by the NPS. 9) Maintained the unethical position of stating the NPS was exercising its “discretionary authority” not to repair a known hazard at Lassen Volcanic NP, after a 9 year old boy, Tommy Botell was killed when a retaining wall failed. A federal judge ruled against the NPS and its park employees, after our own Special Agent testified against the park. The judge specifically stated that Superintendent Darlene Koontz destroyed evidence, obstructed the investigation and lied under oath. Of course, Koontz is still the Superintendent. So, you ask about “transparency” and the leadership of Director Jarvis? This is just a short public listing of issues and failures. Is there any wonder why there is a lack of confidence is the director’s leadership? We know that we often get very poor leaders when political appointees are moved in (Mainella, etc.) However, Director Jarvis knows us and our problems. He is a career employee and knows how badly the NPS needs reform, real management systems and ethical and inspired leadership. We need his leadership to conduct serious reforms, not just hang around for the centennial party. Clearly, we are disappointed. He has let us down, choosing to fulfill his long-time ambition of becoming director, then failing to know what to do with the privilege of its authority.
That's a good list Ghost of Mather. The way it is stated reminds me of the list of complaints against George III in the Declaration of Independence. I would add to the list that he refused to enforce the law against against camping in McPherson Square. He allowed the Occupy Wall Street people to build a shanty town there until he was humiliated at a congressional hearing when he couldn't give a good answer as to why it was taking him four months to enforce the plain language of a statute. For those of us who have to make all kinds of unpleasant visitor contacts all the time in order to gain compliance with regulations, it was like spitting in our faces for the Director to allow those open violations to go on right under his nose. It is pretty clear he allowed himself to be paralyzed by the legacy of the 1970 Yosomite Riot. And I would also add that he should know that programs like pro ranger are likely a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. These kinds of schemes have been tried before in collage admission only to be struck down by the courts. It is a perfect example of their 'take us to court if you don't like it attitude.' I haven't been studying these kinds of issues for very long before the Jarvis era but I would say that I don't think any of his recent predecessors were any better --certainly not Mainella
Ghost of Steven, an interesting post. I do agree that the issues raised need serious attention, both for maintaining the public trust and for the morale of all employees. Having two sets of standards is demoralizing and against the ethics set for the service.
I still find myself wondering if at least some of the sins blamed on Jarvis are actually the result of pressures from even higher up the political food chain. Congress, perhaps?
So full of blame, so empty of evidence.
So Lee you are saying that instead of wanting some of the objectionable things that have been attributed to Jarvis it may not be his will at work but rather he's just kowtowing to political pressure? And how is that supposed to be any better? An honorable man would do what Paul Berkowitz did in those circumstances --report to the American people what is wrong and resign, or let the President to fire him.
PS Lee just likes to blame everything on the evil Cs - Congress, Corporations and Conservatives. It certainly can't be any missteps by his beloved NPS.

Let's try to stay on topic, folks. No brick-bats, please.

Perhaps going to the broader brush but with the evidence appearing daily of pretty poor and perhaps criminal activity throughout so many Federal Agencies today it would be remarkable that NPS could possibly escape. Not what citizen supporters of the Parks and wild places can accept, a good thing. So what should we do? Sounds naive I know but should we just tolerate it accept it as the new norm? Corruption has always been around but it just seems like it's the norm now days and PC in many cases just covers it up.
I don't try to suggest that any of this behavior is acceptable. It needs to be rooted out. Let's just try to be sure we are looking in all the right directions.
110% agreement, trailadvocate. But you are, unfortunately, just partly correct. It's not just Federal agencies. It seems to be a plague that is spread far and wide throughout our lawmakers, our businesses, state agencies and a frighteningly wide swath of society. Indeed, what can be done about it? I just hope that it will never be tolerated as the new norm. But I'm afraid that as long as many of our neighbors are perfectly happy so long as they are being entertained and don't feel too much of the effects of corruptive greed in their own lives, there's not much hope. Maybe it's time to resurrect Occupy Wall Steet and do a better job of it this time. Until we find a way to eliminate things like Citizens United and unlimited political dollars, not much will change. (Sorry, ec, I know indigestion isn't pleasant. I'd email some Tums to you if I could. ;-)
The Park Police actually tried to remove at least part of the OccupyDC encampment in early December(2 months into the protest) as they had built a wooden structure. They had to arrest some 30 people in the process. The OccupyDC group filed a lawsuit for a TRO against NPS the next day(the arrests took place on a Sunday). This is how WTOP summarized the judge's ruling: "Boasberg's ruling requires the Park Service to provide one day's notice if it intends to enforce its regulations prohibiting camping or sleeping in McPherson Square. Boasberg ruled barring an emergency, the government should not restrict access to McPherson Square or tamper with the protesters' tent city." There is a collection of OccupyDC documents on the NPS FOIA website. There are dozens of pages, including emails that provide some insight to that 4 month period.
[quote]Maybe it's time to resurrect Occupy Wall Steet[/quote] You mean the embodiment of the entitlement mentality. No thanks. [quote]Until we find a way to eliminate things like Citizens United and unlimited political dollars, not much will change. [/quote] Yet you haven't shown how either of those have led to any of the issues identified in Ghost's post above BTW Lee, you might not like what eliminating Citizens United would do to your favorite party's finances;
90% agree Lee, except where you chose your ideological connection to the Occupy bunch. That's the type of rat hole we've gone down to get us where we are. Community organizing with a very deceptive and negative end game, I believe. An important topic, perhaps the best involving the culture we're becoming. Not my preference when compared to just getting into these amazing, restorative and humbling landscapes and certainly gives better perspective to deal with it. 90% isn't bad, Lee:).
Thank you Sara, your post was very informative.
If George Will were to add a charge to the indictment by "Ghost of Mather" above this would be it.
PS, I agree with some of the issues you comment on, particularly the issue of seasonal/part time/intern appointments. I do not support the attacks (at least my perception of said) on the NPS leadership occasionally posted. On the "FOX NEWS" video, I am not inclined to give much creditability to it and those chosen to comment on it. I do not wsh to demean them, I simply disagree with their perspective.
[quote]I am not inclined to give much creditability to it[/quote] Because you don't want to not because you have any facts to dispute it.
Rmackie, I believe that the NPS leadership intentionally refused to mitigate the impact of the shutdown for political reasons. I think most intelligent people know that is true. The difference is that those who support the actions taken during shutdown are OK with it because they believe it furthers an end they support. The means to that end are not important to them. And even though they know George Wills words on that video are true they cannot admit they are true without, they believe, harming the ends they support. I would say whenever you are in a position where you think you are advancing a cause by not acknowledging things you know to be true you are, by default, in the wrong position. I do believe that my getting into those issues will only turn off the true believers. So I should probably try to stick more to the issue of the abuse of temporary appointments in the service. But Mackie I don’t see how you can agree with me on the seasonal/temporary issue without acknowledging that as an attack on the leadership in the service. They are the ones who are knowingly and systemically breaking the personnel laws on an epidemic scale. Jarvis can either do something about it now or he can wait until a situation comes up like the Granite Mt. Hotshots, where the Phoenix Fire Dept. officials lied about how many seasonal firefighters were on the crew in order to keep certification. Remember how when those nineteen men were killed the flags were at half staff,? People were posting memorials to the ANPR and the NPS retirees FB pages but for some reason when the news broke about how the crew should not have even been accredited as hotshots that news didn't get posted on those sites. Why? Probably because the folks who control those organizations know that NPS is riddled with the same kind of fraud committed by the Phoenix Fire Dept. and they don’t want to rock the boat with their good buddy and life time membership holder Jon Jarvis in the directorship.
PS--Maybe if you say something often enough, it will change, but you are absolutely tone deaf. You don't solicit support for change by insulting people and accusing them of fraud. I have to laugh when you call Jarvis "our good buddy". He started work much later than we did and I would guess most retirees have never even met him. I consider him a casual acquaintance and would never say he was my "good buddy". I suggest you and people who feel as you do join ANPR or form another organization that would make your issues high priority. Posting on NPT isn't going to accomplish what you want to change. Like Mackie, I am sympathetic to seasonals who cannot find a permanent position. But your constant insulting of ANPR or the Coalition of Retirees for not doing what you should be doing is tiresome and ineffective. Rick
"an organization that would make my issues a priority?" Rick, my issues are integrity in the agency and respect for the rule of law in the agency. It is a shame that those issues aren't priorities for those groups. If I am under a misimpression and those organizations do care about those things here is what I would propose: This past week we had the conclusion of the lawsuit by the parents of Tommy Botell. The judge in the case concluded that Lassen Superintendent Darlene Koontz destroyed evidence in the case as part of a cover up. And the judged concluded that Koontz knew the wall that crushed Tommy Botell was a hazard but did nothing to protect the public from that hazard. Would you or any other ANPR members here support an effort to expel Darleen Koontz from the Association of National Park Rangers? Wouldn't that at lest be some kind of symbolic gesture in favor of cleaning up the agency?
PS... In the time you've been posting here "your issues" have gone far beyond the "motherhood", "world peace", and "feeding the poor" that you now claim. I believe that is what Rick Smith may have been more generally been referring to. You didn't address his central point of your actually getting involved in a group doing work on this rather than sitting around the cracker barrel with the rest of us here.
PS, I am going camping for 5 days, just must take advantage of this weather, as bad as it is for the drought happening here in California. I must agree with both Rick's, I think you will find it very productive and will be interested in the knowledge and expertise of groups like ANPR. Making allegations against specific persons without first hand knowledge is always iffy, and its important to separate much of the "political" dialog expressed on mainstream media form what is actually going on.