President Donald Trump’s administration moved quickly last week to install a female wildland firefighter to lead the U.S. Forest Service after the agency’s former chief stepped down amid sexual misconduct allegations.
The appointment of Vickie Christiansen as interim chief came as lawmakers from both parties called for more aggressive efforts to combat a culture of harassment and retaliation within the Forest Service. The problems mirror recent misconduct within the nation’s other major public lands agency, the Interior Department.
Christiansen has been with the Forest Service for seven years and became a deputy chief in 2016. Before joining the federal government she’d worked in forestry for 30 years at the state level, in Arizona and Washington. She did not return an emailed message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in an email to the Forest Service’s approximately 35,000 employees that it had been “a difficult week,” punctuated by Wednesday’s abrupt retirement of Tony Tooke.
Tooke’s departure came just days after PBS NewsHour reported he was under investigation following relationships with subordinates prior to his appointment last August. The leadership changes at the agency were first reported by The Missoulian.
Read more on this from the Washignton Post at https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/energy-environment/forest-service-chief-retires-following-harassment-reports/2018/03/08/2ba57526-2331-11e8-946c-9420060cb7bd_story.html?utm_term=.f87144b93cd3.