Exposed: Horse Hater “Dinky” Zinke’s shell game to undermine Interior career employees and civil servants

by as published on Western Values Project

Interior Inspector General’s report released on “Dinky’s” reassignments

“Can’t afford to be surrounded by staff smarter than me, could make me look like a DINK!”

The Interior’s Inspector General released a report on Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s politically motivated efforts to reassign career civil servants at the department. The report found that there was no plan or reason for the reassignments, which follow a long list of other ethical lapses by the Secretary.

According to the report, of the 31 reassigned employees who were interviewed, only 8 had positive perceptions of their reassignment, while “17 senior executives selected for reassignment questioned whether these reassignments were political or punitive, based on a prior conflict with DOI leadership, or on the senior executive’s nearness to retirement. Many executives speculated that multiple reasons applied.” The report concluded that Interior officials should create a plan with criteria, document the reassignment process and consult with department leadership among other recommendations.

Western Values Project’s Executive Director Chris Saeger released the following statement on the report:

“This report confirms what we already knew – Ryan Zinke thinks there’s one set of rules for himself and another for everyone else.

Secretary Zinke has failed at just about every turn as the nation’s leading land manager, and this report is just one of many examples of his attempts to politicize the way our nation’s outdoor heritage is cared for. Much like the lack of documentation on his questionable travel expenses, Zinke seems to be skirting the law by failing to document his actions.

What is really hard to understand is how someone like Zinke is now attacking the very civil servants and career employees that ensure our national parks and public lands are maintained and managed now and for future generations.

Given his continued contempt for the career employees he now manages and how he’s stacked the deck for special interests, it is not hard to imagine that morale at the department is at rock bottom.”

Stacking the deck at Interior:

Western Values Project (WVP) has been documenting Interior’s revolving-door between lobbyist and appointees under Zinke at www.departmentofinfluence.org.

After a WVP Freedom of Information request, Interior released of the names of the Executive Resources Board (ERB), which was entirely comprised of political appointees until Interior included two career employees in November 2017. Interior has not released the current makeup of the board to determine if it is indeed ‘nonpartisan.’

One of the new employees on the board had previously been appointed to a Deputy Director position under President Bush and was involved in several controversial decisions, including mountaintop removal, that benefited industry. The other new board member was part of Interior’s efforts to scrap the 2015 hydraulic fracturing rule.

WVP filed suit against Interior in federal court to force the disclosure of documents related to the board’s work.

Contempt for career civil servants:

Zinke called civil servants ‘serpents’ when suggesting he’d like to privatize campgrounds across the nation’s national parks.

He told an oil industry group that he had ‘30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag.’

Zinke threatened to eliminate 4,000 employees at Interior through draconian budget cuts. A memo from the acting director of the Bureau Land Management (BLM) was sent to employees saying that they should expect to lose 1,000 positions by 2017.

The IG investigation was opened in September 2017 regarding the “extraordinary and politically suspect reassignment of dozens of Senior Executive Service (SES) members.”

5 comments

  1. This has nothing to do with the subject above. But one of the few rescues I donate to really needs some help at this point. This is the same rescue that spent the winter at ISPMB a couple years ago helping to save many horses there! Chilly Pepper-Miracle Mustang is attempting to save as many lives as possible from roundups in Yakima, WA. They will only take the horses (foals & mares usually) that they KNOW they can vet & care for.
    I know any help would sure be appreciated.

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  2. From THE HILL

    Interior watchdog unable to determine if staff reassignments comply with law (excerpts)
    By Miranda Green 04/11/18

    The Interior Department’s watchdog was unable to determine if a series of senior staff reassignments that took place last year complied with federal law due to poor departmental record-keeping.

    Joel Clement was the first Interior employee to blow the whistle on the reassignments, filing a complaint in July.
    Clement officially resigned in October.
    “I am stunned by the level of incompetence that this report describes; there were so few records kept that the Inspector General can’t even make a determination of the legality of the reassignment actions,” Clement said in a statement Wednesday. “It’s remarkable that the political staff at Interior would be so blithe, thoughtless, and careless during a time of intense scrutiny. It begs the question, what did they have to hide?

    Clement said that at the very least the report indicated poor management style at the Interior Department, but at the most highlighted the extent to which politics had seeped into the department.

    He said he is now hoping Congress will respond to the report’s findings and seek more information from Interior. He called for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to step down.

    http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/382689-interior-watchdog-says-bad-records-responsible-for-failing-to

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  3. Stinky is supposedly a retired a Navy SEAL. Talk about disgrace and dishonor! Can’t wait till he’s booted from Washington and goes home to Montana.

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  4. Eyes on the prize? Zinke may be angling for MT Governor:

    When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was a state senator from this idyllic mountain town, he drove a Prius, sported a beard and pushed President Barack Obama to make clean energy a priority.

    Today, the beard and Prius are gone, and Mr. Zinke has emerged as a leading figure, along with Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Protection Agency, in the environmental rollbacks that have endeared President Trump to the fossil fuel industry and outraged conservationists. … “It is very clear that Montana is treated very differently,” said Chris Saeger, a Whitefish resident who leads a conservation group called the Western Values Project.

    … [see charming photo]

    Mr. Zinke in 2012. In his early years in politics, Mr. Zinke courted environmentalists like Steve Thompson. “He was the greenest Republican in the State Senate,” Mr. Thompson said. Credit Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon.

    …On Monday, a partial report found that Mr. Zinke’s travel practices “generally followed relevant law,” but called into question a $12,000 publicly funded charter flight the secretary took from a dinner with a Nevada hockey team to Whitefish, where the Western Governors’ Association was holding its annual meeting. The hockey team is owned by Bill Foley, a top donor of Mr. Zinke’s who also owns much of Whitefish.

    The report said that a government ethics team approved the trip with incomplete information from Mr. Zinke’s staff, which failed to mention, for example, the cost of the flight, the fact that the team’s owner had funded Mr. Zinke’s campaigns, and the fact that the secretary’s speech to hockey players would not mention the Department of the Interior.

    “If ethics officials had known Zinke’s speech would have no nexus to the DOI,” the report says, “they likely would not have approved this as an official event.”

    The secretary called the investigation “a distraction.” …

    Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, will be term-limited in 2020, and Mr. Zinke is thought to have his eye on the job.

    A polling firm recently floated his name by Iowa voters, leading to speculation that he is also looking toward a bid for president.

    Mr. Zinke has traveled to Montana at least nine times on official or personal business since his nomination, sometimes mixing the two.

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