UPDATE: SINCE THIS WAS POSTED, FOLKS HAVE TOLD ME THAT THE DAILY CALLER IS A QUESTIONABLE NEWS SOURCE. OF COURSE, I QUESTION PRETTY MUCH ALL NEWS SOURCES AND YET I DID NOT ADD MY USUAL GENERAL DUBIOUSNESS TO THIS POST. AT LEAST IN PART THAT WAS BECAUSE THE RUMORS HAD BEEN FLOATING AROUND FOR SOME TIME. IS THIS NEWSWORTHY? FAKE NEWS? OR TARGETED ANTI-TONY RUMORS INTENDED TO REMOVE HIM? I don’t know the answers, but I think this story is still worth posting here, because it’s just another case of trying to figure out what’s really going on, including/despite what any media outlet says.
Here’s an article about the new Chief Tony Tooke,from the Daily Caller.
But questions are being raised if Tooke is the person to change the culture. Approximately 12 years ago, Tooke, who was married at the time and Deputy Forest Supervisor for the National Forests in Florida, carried on an affair for approximately two years with an entry-level employee, according to a retired Forest Service employee.
The retired USFS employee, who rose to region chief and worked in the same region as Tooke, asked not to be identified because the person still has family working at the USFS and worry they’ll be retaliated against.
A second former USFS employee told The Daily Caller that Tooke’s mistress told them directly about the affair at the time.
After Tooke was named USFS chief last summer, the former region chief sent a letter to Congress detailing her claims.
“Initiated prior to 2005, the sexual misconduct involved a two-year affair between Mr. Tooke, then Deputy Forest Supervisor in Florida and a student from the SCEP program, who was newly converted to a permanent position in Florida, where Mr. Tooke was assigned,” the retired employee wrote Aug. 31, 2017.
“Mr. Tooke occupied a position of power, as the Deputy and second in charge for the National Forests in Florida.”
“The young female employee was an employed on the National Forests in Florida. The employee’s direct supervisor was the Public Communications Staff Officer, who in turn was supervised by the Forest Supervisor and Deputy Forest Supervisor, Mr. Tooke, per the Chain of Command.”
“In my brief read of the ‘Justia’ website article for Defending Charges of Sexual Misconduct I found, ‘It is important to recognize that consent maybe a defense,’” the letter stated. “However, if sexual misconduct arises from a position of power, consent may not be a legal defense, the abuse of power is a crime, even if the subordinate appeared to consent.”
Tooke is also alleged to have pulled strings to get a plum promotion for his paramour.
I’m liking the idea that consensual relationships between higher-ups and people who work directly or indirectly for them should not occur- too much potential for workplace drama. On the other hand, the peer pool can be mighty empty depending on where you work and how far it is to the next office. And of course extramarital affairs are different from dating. Like the rest of this complex issue in other workplaces, I don’t think anyone has the nuances figured out.