Yosemite Chief Retiring Amid Complaints of Hostile Workplace | NBC 7 San Diego
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Yosemite Chief Retiring Amid Complaints of Hostile Workplace

The House Oversight Committee chairman had been concerned about a "corrosive culture" in the National Park Service

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP, File
    A view on the way to Glacier Point trail in the Yosemite National Park, California

    The head of Yosemite National Park is retiring following employee complaints that he created a hostile workplace by allowing bullying, harassment and other misconduct, allegations also raised in other popular national parks, officials said Thursday.

    Superintendent Don Neubacher announced his plans Wednesday, said Andrew Munoz, a spokesman for the National Park Service. It comes less than a week after a congressional oversight committee unveiled that at least 18 Yosemite staffers complained of a toxic work environment.

    Lawmakers 'Tricked' Into Honoring Ku Klux Klansman

    [NATL] Tennessee Lawmakers 'Tricked' Into Honoring Ku Klux Klansman

    Lawmakers in Tennessee are crying foul after Republican Rep. Mike Sparks sneaked in a resolution to honor former Ku Klux Klansman Nathan Bedford Forrest with a bust under a different name. The resolution passed unanimously, 94-0, and the bust was installed at the state Capitol before lawmakers realized the mistake. 

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    The employees described "horrific working conditions (that) lead us to believe that the environment is indeed toxic, hostile, repressive and harassing," the park service said in a preliminary report last month.

    The congressional hearing also showed wider allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and other misconduct among employees at national parks including Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

    Neubacher, who headed Yosemite for nearly seven years, was not immediately available for comment, but his emailed statement to park staffers was provided to The Associated Press.

    "I regret leaving at this time, but want to do what's best for Yosemite National Park," he said in Wednesday's message. "It is an iconic areas that is world renowned and deserves special attention."

    UC Davis Now Sells Plan B and Condoms From a Vending Machine

    [NATL] UC Davis Now Sells Plan B, Pregnancy Tests and Condoms From a Vending Machine

    Students at the University of California, Davis, can now purchase $30 Plan B emergency contraceptives, pregnancy tests, condoms and other personal care products from a vending machine. The idea came from UC Davis senior Parteek Singh, after a friend was unable to buy emergency contraceptives in time. 

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    Neubacher did not mention the allegations but listed several accomplishments the park made in recent years under his leadership, including adding 400 acres and restoring the native Western Pond turtles.

    His retirement is effective Nov. 1 and he will be on leave immediately, he said in the statement.

    At the congressional hearing, Kelly Martin, Yosemite's fire chief, testified that Neubacher publicly humiliated her and intimidated staffers in front of others.

    "In Yosemite National Park today, dozens of people, the majority of whom are women, are being bullied, belittled, disenfranchised and marginalized," according to Martin's written testimony.

    Millennials Found Most Susceptible to Robocalls and Scams

    [NATL] Millennials Found Most Susceptible to Robocalls and Scams

    A new study finds that it is not the elderly who are most susceptible to scam phone calls, but millennials, who are six times more likely to give away credit card information than any other age group. 

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    Neubacher sent an apology email to all park employees days after the hearing, referencing "some serious staff concerns related to Yosemite's workplace environment."

    U.S. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in an AP interview Wednesday, prior to Neubacher's retirement announcement, that he was concerned about a "corrosive culture" that tolerates sexual harassment within the National Park Service and has been allowed to persist for too long.

    The Utah Republican predicted that the number of parks with sexual harassment scandals will grow as victims become more confident that they can speak up and be heard.