Mountain Buzz banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Vendor
Joined
·
205 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
GCPBA RiverNews May 18, 2016 - Superintendent Dave Uberuaga Announces Retirement

Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga announced his retirement effective June 1, 2016.

On May 17 Supt. Uberuaga wrote to Grand Canyon employees and others:

"
Last week I met with (National Park Service) Director Jarvis in Washington, DC to discuss the OIG's (Office of Inspector General) report on Sexual Harassment in the River District of Grand Canyon. We discussed the current situation and the Director told me he has decided a change in leadership is needed in order for the Park to move forward. He offered me a position in Washington, DC but I have decided instead to retire effective June 1, 2016."

The OIG report was released January 12, 2016, with 13 former and current NPS employees reporting sexual harassment and misconduct on the Colorado River by their coworkers and supervisors. The employees worked on the River District and said sexual misconduct had been going on for over 15 years.

The OIG report can be read here:

https://www.doioig.gov/reports/investigative-report-misconduct-grand-canyon-river-district


Supt. Uberuaga arrived at Grand Canyon National Park in 2011. According to the report, Uberuaga and his deputy superintendent were aware of the allegations and did not take appropriate action.


GCPBA RiverNews is a service of Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association.
Join and Support GCPBA. Visit our website www.gcpba.org.
We are on Facebook –
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1424392787831584
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,885 Posts
"...We discussed the current situation and the Director told me he has decided a change in leadership is needed in order for the Park to move forward. He offered me a position in Washington, DC but I have decided instead to retire effective June 1, 2016."
I'm not sure what is more astounding - that this guy was offered a position in DC after being presented with a mountain of evidence of the sexual harassment and doing nothing about it, or that he had the chutzpah to mention it in his resignation statement as if it were deserved. HFS.

Surely there must be some total shithole post they could have transferred Supt. Uberuag to if they couldn't outright fire him. What a message to send. :confused:

-AH
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
629 Posts
Well said, Andy.

Hard to fire for sure, but know that he will have no power and no decision making ability in DC...a post any where else would be a gift.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,200 Posts
The beauty of a government job.
No matter how bad you screw up, they can't fire you.
And you get to keep you pension and benefits.
Screw the taxpayers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,261 Posts
I have always believed those high level positions are partially symbolic and should be used to display accountability. Have yet to see that put into action in any big organization to date, including the government.

Sounds like Super Uber has a long history of alleged misconduct while in the NPS. Just can't believe they offer such individuals positions in Washington.

I know a male acquaintance who made light of the sexual harassment claims recently. Said while he was working in the Grand over two decades the women "sexually harassed" him just as much. Considering the smile on his face and the innuendos made I am gonna guess his definition of sexual harassment is not the legal one. But I am gonna also guess this is a common standard/retort held down there for decades.

Looks like the effort of the brave victims and the news organizations (like HCR) who broke the story are paying off. Now the question remains if any legal charges will happen.

Phillip
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,607 Posts
Bizarre that it would even be mentioned. I am guessing it was part of some deal that he publically take the fall. Hopefully the DC job was sewer maintenance.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Mountain Buzz mobile app
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
713 Posts
Without meaning to get political.........

The best example of Rich's comment is Clinton himself in the highest, most public, most scrutinized government job there is.

Is there any private sector job where an executive could have a relationship with an intern and not get canned for it?


The beauty of a government job.
No matter how bad you screw up, they can't fire you.
And you get to keep you pension and benefits.
Screw the taxpayers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,607 Posts
Is there any private sector job where an executive could have a relationship with an intern and not get canned for it?
Ummm, yeah. Ever notice how many executives end up with their secretaries? It is common. Hopefully less so now, but sexual predators are usually the safer person than the victims in the workplace.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,261 Posts
Ummm, yeah. Ever notice how many executives end up with their secretaries? It is common. Hopefully less so now, but sexual predators are usually the safer person than the victims in the workplace.
^This

The statistics are saddening. Sexual harassment, especially that involving a power differential, often goes unreported and even when it is the consequences can be minimal.

One of my closest friends (past-tense) was arrested last year. The allegations against him in the workplace exceed those of the public record and play right into this theme. Luckily he no longer has a position in our management. Sadly, for me and my sense of justice, he has yet to be charged by our local municipality. As Lhowemt stated, the current systems (both public and private) often do a better job at protecting the predator instead of the victims.

In this particular case it would seem the status qou was playing out nicely until he chose to retire (a friendly result for him). I have to wonder how much damning information has yet to reach the public and wonder if he is just actively managing damage control. That is my optimistic side; realistically he is probably just retiring into a massive nest egg.

Phillip
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
Andy, you're wrong. As a leader on this forum I'd expect better. Quit slandering a good person that is taking the fall for events that mostly occurred before he was in charge. It's sad that his career had to end this way. I can think of a lot of reasons why a outdoor-loving person close to retirement would decide not to transfer to Washington DC. Also, don't assume that any NPS employee has a huge "nest egg" retirement.

Perhaps he didn't do as much as he could or should have done in reporting, but think of the challenge of managing the he-said-she-said that might come after a extended co-ed river trip with youth and alcohol involved.

Go ahead and do your internet rants on the alleged perpetrators, but at least read the report and take a deep breath before slamming Sup Uberuaga.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,261 Posts
I made the nest-egg comment, not Andy. Just for clarity.

Superintendent Uberuaga had a base salary of $162k in 2015. He has made more than $150k in base salary since the start of his Grand Canyon tenure began in 2011. He is a GS-15 (Correction, he was promoted to an ES pay plan with his GCNP job) which does not translate well to the average Park Service employee which makes a median income of $50k. I feel comfortable in my claim that he is likely retiring into a nest egg. He is well into the top 10% for Arizona and most of the US. I believe he retires with his superintendent salary.

There are strong allegations against his professional behavior at other parks that deal explicitly with conflict of interest and his financial investments. They don't bode well for the above nor his general leadership record.

The incidents are not all past tense. Many of the issues documented in the report are solely in the middle of his tenure. In fact, almost half of the incidents and some of the worst mistakes on the part of the GCNP happened during his time as Superintendent (page 12). The allegations of retribution are during his term. The leak of privileged testimony to supervisors was under his watch. It took the 2014 OIG investigation to catalyze the changes his team takes credit for, i.e. 3 years of knowing the scale of the problem.

I see no benefit to leniency with figureheads that make mistakes like he has. When you take on the mantle of leadership for such big institutions you better have the ability to actually manage the problems. And with a problem as rampant and significant as sexual harassment knocking on your door from day one there is no excuse to make the type and quantity of mistakes they made.

PS...The he-said-she-said issue is largely mitigated by following proper protocol when it comes to sexual harassment. Allegations are to be reported. The system isn't designed to work in the way described by that phrase. That is not justice nor does it lead to healthy work environments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
276 Posts
Amazimg. .gov can't even manage a river and a few employees. Pretty sad considering he made $150,000+ a year. How many people were under his authority? 30? 40? 100? Shit, a.manager at McDonalds manages that many for $40000. .Gov is working with "educated" employees vs main street supervising flunkies.
 

·
Paddling in to the Future
Joined
·
574 Posts
Amazimg. .gov can't even manage a river and a few employees. Pretty sad considering he made $150,000+ a year. How many people were under his authority? 30? 40? 100? Shit, a.manager at McDonalds manages that many for $40000. .Gov is working with "educated" employees vs main street supervising flunkies.
I wonder if they struggle with the educated biologists in the NPS like they do with the flunky mcdonalds workers? - try ordering a hamburger at McDonalds.. they'll respond with "you mean a cheeseburger?" and you'll say "no, a hamburger..." they'll give you a quizzical look, and ring up a cheese burger. you'll then say "no, I want a cheese burger without cheese" - to which they will continue to ring up the cheese burger and give you a cheese burger. Then bitch to you that they deserve $15 an hour. This is why a mcdonalds manager makes $40k. He can't train his monkey's to do basic work... now imagine trying to train your monkey's to do work that requires a biology degree or something.. I think the Superintendent of GCNP deserves much more than a McDonalds manager... and his pay looks on par with most director level positions in the civilian world. I don't think his pay is the issue... I think his leadership failures are where the issue is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
570 Posts
I think the lack of action is taken by the main admin of GC is just one example of failed leadership by the park. In regards to the river office, they have done a good job with the new permitting database. However, my personal experience with the river rangers at the put in ramp for DYI trips has never been positive. Every year I am on guard and hoping for less harassment. I have never driven to Lees Ferry without anxiety about what kind of random unwritten rule the ranger will bust our group for during check out. Last year we were grilled for having a dish strainer system that was too fine for dish particles. One year it was river boards. Another year it was the pocket of a life jacket which was ripped was failed. The float crushing regulation which the park refuse to acknowledge is a problem or change it another great example of continued failed leadership.

Contrast that with other highly used river systems like the four rivers in ID or the wild and scenic rivers in other states. These river systems stay protected, the campsites stay clean and the rangers are kind and helpful. I did a rogue river trip last week and was blown away by how kind the rangers were in contrast to my grand canyon self-support in February this year.

Sadly, I think the river office at grand canyon has a big uphill to climb when it comes to treating their coworkers and visitors nicely. And I will again embrace the check in harassment in 2017.
 

·
Misspellingintothefuture!
Joined
·
1,901 Posts
I have found the BLM ranger to be awesome up in Deso, he is polite, friendly, fair, makes SURE the resource is protected, and all the reasonable rules are adhered to, even is helpful. Good management and staffing of a river management unit is definitely possible, at least if that is your goal, and you are competent at your job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,261 Posts
The Desolation crew was recognized for their outstanding service a few years ago. They all seem to be solid, thoughtful people who just love the place.

For clarity to the above conversation....the legal issue is only centered around the "River District" that managed science trips and the like. It does not involve the departments that permit and supervise commercial and non-commercial launches.

That does not discount the various criticisms and complaints over the years about their choices and behavior.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
570 Posts
restrac2000

You are correct: The direct cause of Dave Uberuaga Retirement according to his report was the lack of response to sexual harassment on science trips from around 2010-2014.

My contention is that under Uberuaga's leadership the River Office / Unit in addition to tolerating sexual harassment in the workplace has operated in a fashion that is disrespectful and unwelcoming to the folks participating in the private river trip system. This toxic behavior is most apparent during the required equipment check out process.

~ B
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,261 Posts
Totally understand. I have recognized since my first trip that my experience has been in the minority there. I would never call my experience their pleasant but it has been smooth and uneventful.

The Main and Deso seem to set the standard for me. Easy, pleasant and downright helpful.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top