Oversight of the National Park Service

Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Hearing Date: June 14, 2016 10:00 am 2154 Rayburn HOB

TAKEAWAYS:

  • More than 20 claims of sexual harassment and misconduct were reported at offices in the Grand Canyon River District and Canaveral National Seashore during the past 15 years. Yet, Director Jarvis has not fired any of the perpetrators involved despite NPS’s zero tolerance policy.
  • Top officials at NPS are not held accountable for their misconduct, mismanagement, or unethical behavior. These individuals face inadequate repercussions and in some cases are even promoted.
  • Director Jarvis violated ethics rules when he authored a book and failed to notify the DOI Ethics Office. He compounded the problem by lying to the Secretary of Interior about his book project.
  • Chairman Chaffetz called for new leadership at NPS in order to fix persistent problems at the agency.

PURPOSE:

  • To examine how National Park Service (NPS) handles cases of misconduct and unethical behavior.
  • To review ways NPS can improve its handling of misconduct and increase accountability for wrongdoing.

BACKGROUND:

  • The Department of Interior’s Office of Inspector General recently found multiple instances of misconduct and unethical behavior at NPS.
  • In many cases, employees were not held accountable for their actions and were able to move laterally or retire in order to escape disciplinary action.
  • Concerns exist that ongoing misconduct issues have fostered a culture where employees fear retaliation for reporting misbehavior, while wrongdoing by management and senior officials is tolerated.

KEY VIDEOS:

Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): “How many sexual harassments does it take to fire a federal worker?”

Information Technology Subcommittee Chairman Will Hurd (R-TX): “What types of steps should be taken by the National Park Service to address the poor culture of management and lack of accountability in leadership?”

Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA): “Discipline and punishment is one thing, hand-slapping is another. I would hardly call what’s taking place as discipline.”

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Ms. Mary Kendall Deputy Inspector General U.S. Department of the Interior Document
The Honorable Jonathan Jarvis Director, National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Document

Related Documents

Name Document
Transcript Document