Fed-bashing investigated

  Gloria Flora got the ball rolling. After she resigned as supervisor of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in November (HCN, 11/22/99: Nevadans drive out forest supervisor), the Forest Service sent a team to investigate her charges of "anti-federal fervor" and "fed-bashing" in Nevada. Although the team's report says that working conditions for Forest Service employees throughout the state are generally good, it also says that staffers in northeast Nevada face an unusual amount of antagonism. Agency employees and their families in Elko, Nev., and other rural towns in the area tell of verbal attacks in public and ostracism from community groups. One Forest Service spouse says other women at her son's bus stop screamed profanities at her when articles about the Forest Service appeared in the local paper. Nonetheless, the team discovered no incidents worthy of attention from the Justice Department. However, the nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility says Nevada's U.S. Attorney has been unwilling to prosecute criminal complaints brought by the Forest Service, and has failed to assign priority status to any such case in the past six years.

And according to a recent editorial in the Reno Gazette-Journal, while there may be no criminal actions to prosecute, the pervasive harassment of federal employees is "not the way to act in a supposedly civilized society."

PEER's report, Forest Service Complaints Ignored by Justice in Nevada, is available on the Web at www.peer.org/action. To request a copy of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Work Environment and Community Relations Fact-Finding Report, contact the Forest Service's Robert Swinford at 801/625-5347.

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