Latest: Mixed progress for Park Service on harassment

Interior Department clears former Yosemite superintendent of discrimination — and reports evidence for sexual harassment at Yellowstone.

  • Don Neubacher, former superintendent of Yosemite National Park.

    Courtesy Marin Independent Journal/Frankie Frost
 

BACKSTORY
Gender bias and sexual harassment have long been systemic problems within the National Park Service. Last fall, Don Neubacher, then superintendent of Yosemite, faced accusations of discrimination during a congressional hearing on agency misconduct and mismanagement. “Dozens of people, the majority of whom are women, are being bullied, belittled, disenfranchised and marginalized,” testified Kelly Martin, the park’s chief of fire and aviation management. A week later, Neubacher announced his retirement (“How the National Park Service is failing women,” HCN, 12/12/16).

FOLLOWUP
On April 10, the U.S. Interior Department Inspector General released a report largely dismissing the accusations against Neubacher. The investigation “found no evidence that … management decisions were motivated by bias or favoritism,” though Neubacher could be a difficult supervisor, “a poor communicator and a micromanager,” according to one employee. But the agency still has work to do: A separate report, released April 12, described misconduct at Yellowstone, including on-the-job drinking, verbal abuse and sexual harassment.