Friday, June 15, 2018 - AG Sessions says the Bible backs the Trump administration policy separating children from parents. Also on
the Friday rundown: emails suggest political interference in feds ending a Mining-Health Study, and Iowa marks Elder Abuse Awareness
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - The Poor People’s Campaign is said to have a champion in Elizabeth Warren. Also on the Wednesday
rundown: Colorado health insurance companies expected to ask for big rate hikes, and we will take you to a state that ranks in the top ten
for summer meals for kids.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - It’s a handshake that is making worldwide headlines – Trump and Kim meet face to face. Also on the Tuesday
rundown: labor updates on airport workers and teachers; and in California a hearing to ban prosecution of children under 12.
Click on the image above to listen to today's top stories.
PNS - Monday, June 11, 2018 - Soybean farmers keeping a cautious eye on prices following the weekend’s heated G-7 summit. Also on the
Monday rundown: primary elections tomorrow will test ranked voting in Maine, and conservation groups fear a Zinke shakeup of public lands
Big Sky Connection
June 11, 2018
HELENA, Montana - Defenders of America's national parks are sounding the alarm after last week's dismissal of Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk, and they warn more dominoes are likely to fall as Secretary Ryan Zinke's Interior Department roots out staff members who are committed to conservation.
Phil Francis, who chairs the Coalition to Protect America's National Parks, says the nation's parks and visitors will end up paying the biggest price, as more staff members are either forced out or choose to leave on their own.
"And when they leave the service, they take with them an enormous amount of experience, an enormous amount of institutional memory," Francis states. "These parks are complex. These parks are difficult to manage, in many cases."
Less than a year before his announced retirement after four decades of service, Wenk was told to accept a new position in Washington, D.C. or resign.
A recent Inspector General's investigation into 35 Interior Department transfers found no clear justification.
In an e-mail, an agency representative noted moves are made to better serve the department, adding that senior executives signed up knowing they could be called upon to work in different positions at any time.
Francis says transferring senior staff for no reason isn't good management, and he worries the moves will have a chilling effect - a signal that if staff members don't go along with Zinke's political agenda, their jobs could be at risk.
Affecting morale that's already low in an agency being asked to do more with less, Francis says Wenk's dismissal will also make it harder to recruit strong candidates.
"Maybe people will be less likely to apply for jobs, if they think that there's going to be political consequences to their decisions, as opposed to adhering to the National Park Service policy and the law by which we're supposed to manage these parks," he states.
At a time when park visitation is at an all-time high, the Trump administration's proposed 2019 budget would cut 2,000 full-time National Park Service positions, bringing the staff loss to over 4,000 in the last six years.
Parks also face more than $12 billion in overdue infrastructure repairs.
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