A public apology and the publisher replies

  Dear HCN,

On behalf of the National Parks and Conservation Association, I want to publicly apologize both to Petroglyph Superintendent Judith Cordova and to your readers for the personal remarks made by NPCA Southwest Regional Director Dave Simon that appeared in a sidebar to your Oct. 25 "Monumental chaos' feature. His comments were inappropriate and insensitive, and do not represent NPCA's attitudes or values.

The National Park Service, your publication, and NPCA all share a deep commitment to protecting our nation's parks for the edification and enjoyment of present and future generations. I deeply regret any pain we may have caused. NPCA is working to repair relationships with National Park Service staff and various community groups so that we can continue our mutual efforts to preserve and enhance the area's natural and cultural resources.

Thomas C. Kiernan

Washington, D.C.

The writer is president of the National Parks and Conservation Association.

The publisher replies:

For those who no longer have the Oct. 25, 1999, HCN, here is what Dave Simon said:

"If this superintendent (Judith Cordova) were in the private sector, she would have been fired long ago. This is an EOE (Equal Opportunity Employer) experiment gone haywire."

We published his comments not because they were personal, but because they referred to an official government employment policy and its fallout. It was clear from reporter Cathy Robbins' story that John King, who oversees the Southwestern Parks for the National Park Service, agreed with an official report stating that Ms. Cordova had done a terrible job, and had caused great pain to some or perhaps many Park Service employees. It was also clear from the story that Mr. King would rather let Petroglyph National Monument go down than transfer Ms. Cordova to a more suitable position.

I appreciate Thomas Kiernan's sensitivity to matters of ethnic background, but I also respect Dave Simon's willingness to let us all know what is happening to the park, and why it is happening. Ultimately, the truth, frankly spoken, will serve us best.


Ed Marston

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