WHOA!!!! National Park Service employees must pass Bush loyalty test
WHOA!!!! National Park Service employees must pass Bush
Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility News Release
October 13, 2005
Contact: Chas Offutt (202) 265-7337
POLITICAL SCREENING FOR ALL PARK SERVICE
"Mid-Level Managers Picked for Fealty to the President's
Washington, DC The National Park Service has started using
a political loyalty test for picking all its top civil service
positions, according to an agency directive released today
by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Under the new order, all mid-level managers and above
must also be approved by a Bush administration political
The October 11, 2005 order issued by NPS Director Fran
Mainella requires that the selection criteria for all civil service
management slots (Government Service grades or GS-13, 14
and 15) include the "ability to lead employees in achieving
the Secretary's 4Cs and the President's Management
Agenda." In addition, candidates must be screened by Park
Service headquarters and "the Assistant Secretary [of
Interior] for Fish, and Wildlife, and Parks," the number three
political appointee in the agency.
The order represents a complete centralization of Park
Service promotion and hiring in what has traditionally been a
decentralized agency. More strikingly, the order is an
unprecedented political intrusion into what are supposed
to be non-partisan, merit system personnel decisions.
The President's Management Agenda includes
controversial policies and proposals such as aggressive
use of outsourcing to replace civil servants, reliance on
"faith-based initiatives" and rollbacks of civil service
rights. Interior Secretary Gale Norton's "4Cs" is a slogan
she uses to express her management approach: "4 Cs:
communication, consultation, cooperation, all in the service
"It is outrageous that park superintendents must swear
political loyalty to the Bush agenda and parrot hokey
mottos in order to earn a promotion," stated PEER
Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "The merit system is
supposed to be about ability, not apple polishing."
The order applies to all hires for park superintendents,
assistant superintendents and program managers, such as
chief ranger or the head of interpretive or cultural programs.
Overall, the policy applies to more than 1,000 mid-level
management and supervisory positions in the Park Service.
"Presidents come and go but the civil service is designed
to serve whoever occupies the swivel chair in the Oval
Office," Ruch added. "It is downright creepy that now every
museum curator, supervising scientist and chief ranger must
be okayed by a high-level political appointee."
Read the October 11 "Revised Procedures for GS-13, GS-14,
and GS-15 Selections"
Revisit the President's Management Agenda