order non hybrid seeds LandRightsNFarming: FW: Sequoia NF Workplace

Thursday, March 7, 2013

FW: Sequoia NF Workplace

From: LawrLCL@aol.com
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2013 18:56:57 -0500
Subject: Fwd: Sequoia NF Workplace

From: lesa@snowcrest.net
To: Secretary.Vilsack@osec.usda.gov, lawrlcl@aol.com, Rncott1@aol.com, Joe.Leonard@osec.usda.gov, Krysta.Harden@osec.usda.gov, Kathleen.Merrigan@osec.usda.gov, Harris.Sherman@osec.usda.gov, acoleman@fs.fed.us, rmoore@fs.fed.us, valerie_jarrett@who.eop.gov, michael_a._blake@who.eop.gov, Michael_Strautmanis@who.eop.gov, kevin_s._lewis@who.eop.gov, jwagoner@fs.fed.us, robert@donnelly-house.net
Sent: 3/7/2013 5:11:17 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: Sequoia NF Workplace
Mr. Secretary -
On February 28, 2013 I sent you an email expressing my concern about drugs, guns and violence in the workplace here in Region 5, California, particularly on the Sequoia National Forest. As usual, I did not receive any response. From speaking with employees it is apparent no action has been taken either. Today, I received a call from Battalion Chief John Carothers. You'll remember emails I've sent about this highly qualified Native American firefighter who has EEO complaints based on race discrimination. John advised me that Angie Sanchez-Hand has stated more than once in the past two weeks that she is considering committing suicide over issues occurring at the work site. John did the correct thing in contacting Ranger Jeff Ulrich yesterday. Jeff admitted to John that Sequoia NF Union VP Jonel Wagoner had previously told him that Angie discussed suicide but he "doesn't put much value on what Jonel says." In essence, he ignored the situation. He then suggested to John that he call Angie's husband. Is this Ranger an idiot? John is a GS-9 coworker and not even in Angie's chain of command. John and the other employees who heard Angie say she was going to kill herself are in a traumatized state, especially considering that management has refused to act. Based on Jeff's attitude and behavior John called CR Officer Paulla Stephens who said she would call Forest Supervisor Kevin Elliott. Jonel has asked for crisis intervention and has not received a response. This is not surprising because both Jeff Ulrich and Kevin Elliott refuse to acknowledge Jonel's concerns when she tries to address them. Jonel called the Regional Office and was told to ask for a conference call with Elliott, CR and ER to address the issues as they related to attendance and productivity. I am aghast. Apparently, no one knows how to do a crisis intervention in this region. Elliott and staff have also ignored Jonel's contacts regarding the need for Law Enforcement and the gun situation that recently occurred. Kevin Elliott and his staff have actually laughed at Jonel when she's brought serious concerns to them. Additionally, while this is happening, the Division Chief who is supposed to be supervising Angie, John and the unit [Bart Kicklighter] is gone again and it's my understanding that he is going to be gone on training and assignments until May. The employees gave no leadership at all. Bart is not qualified to supervise this fire group and is gone most of the time - one of the reasons this work group is in such a mess. FMO/Chief 1 Brent Skaggs is aware of the issues that lead to this organizational "unrest" and stress and has done nothing about it. But then Brent told me last year that he purposely does not want to know what's going on in his fire organization so he has "deniability." (I have witnesses to that statement.) I will say this again, SOMEONE IS GOING TO DIE on this forest due to Kevin Elliott and his staff's inability to manage properly (or at all?). John said he is witnessing that Kevin and his staff refuse to take decisive action, are neglecting to deal with numerous issues like this and it has resulted in employees (he named Angie Sanchez-Hand, Ernie Villa, Ron Booker, James Robertson as a few examples, and there are many more) being so stressed and demoralized that they turn on each other and more needless incidents occur. (And of course more EEO complaints occur.) It is a pressure cooker on that forest. It is a ship without a rudder. Until and unless a Forest Supervisor and a Forest Fire Management Officer are placed on that forest that can actually make some changes and stop this dysfunction that pressure cooker is going to blow. The impacts may be devastating. My only question - does anyone care about this enough to take decisive action? Sigh...maybe someone will care about how bad it would look if an Hispanic/Native American female firefighter who has been harassed, endured workplace violence, and been discriminated against (we discussed these issues with Robin Heard as far back as 2011) kills herself over workplace issues during Women's History Month and the day that President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act. One can only hope that you will find some reason to care about what is happening and take action before one or more people die on the Sequoia National Forest.

Lesa L. Donnelly

We have lost our sense of shame. Colin Powell