Restive Retired Smokeys Step Up and Speak Out

Today, having a beer…tomorrow, who knows? (Retired R6ers at Missoula Reunion 2009)

Yes, feds are generally go along to get along kinds of folks. And aging doesn’t usually make us more likely to fight. Still..check out this article. I do think the retiree group mentioned is more commonly known as NAFSR, but I could be wrong…

Here’s the link and below is an excerpt..

But that policy was kept so under wraps that not even Pacific Northwest forest supervisors were told. Some of them only heard about it in retrospect late last week — after the USDA had decided, in light of the virulent opposition from the Forest Service’s “Old Smokies” retiree group, to keep the service’s shield logo intact.
“We were all getting ready for a good fight,” said Jim Golden of Sonora, Calif., chairman of the retiree group.
“Of course the alarm went off with our group. The strength of an organization like ours is we can say things in a different way — we can say things the Forest Service (current employees) can’t because of politics.

“We went into it with the attitude that it would be no holds barred.”
The retirees, though, didn’t swing into action until barely two weeks ago because the new USDA policy — while ostensibly already in force for 31/2 months — wasn’t known to the people in the field.
Questions sent Monday morning by the Yakima Herald-Republic to the office of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack prompted a short email reply with this statement, which was “to be attributed to ‘a USDA spokesperson’ ”: “The US Forest Service shield is exempted from the One USDA branding directive.”
Also Monday morning, Forest Service headquarters around the country received the same message, with this terse directive, from Forest Service headquarters in Washington, D.C.: “Good morning, colleagues. Per USDA, we are cleared at all levels to provide only the following comment when queried about the (Forest Service) shield. If we get further guidance, we will let you know.”
While current Forest Service employees could not comment on the record, many retirees were aghast at the idea of what they saw as the USDA’s usurping the service’s shield logo.
“I just think that’s horrible,” said Doug Jenkins, who retired as a Naches Ranger District information specialist four months ago. “It doesn’t surprise me, as if they didn’t have better things to do than do away with the Forest Service shield so they can have their own little realm.”
The Forest Service’s logo has been around since the agency’s inception in 1905 under then-chief forester Gifford Pinchot. It was a former Gifford Pinchot National Forest supervisor who was instrumental in marshaling the opposition to the shield logo’s removal.
Ted Stubblefield, who retired in 1999, said he was told about the shield logo’s impending demise two weeks ago “from an insider, a person at a fairly high level,” who asked not to be identified. Stubblefield spent the next day and a half verifying it, and then began getting the word out to the “Old Smokies.”
Almost immediately, the retiree group began receiving and forwarding letters from former employees from all levels of the service.
One retired 34-year employee sent sarcastic congratulations through the USDA’s online feedback forum, calling the new standards “egotistical bureaucratic tunnel vision” and “the best example of top-down, super-centralized, micro-managed piece of bureaucratic direction that it has been my disgust to read.”
Stubblefield said he and the “Old Smokies” began hearing from retirees “that had never commented on any issue prior to this. It really got to them. It’s pretty sad for politicians to not really look at the history of something before they decide to discard it.”
Golden, chairman of the “Old Smokies,” said the decision to merge the logos into one would also cost “millions of dollars” to replace the shield “on thousands of uniforms, thousands of vehicles and office buildings, every darn campground sign. And to do this in this day and age of budget issues?”

To the Department: being secretive about dumb ideas just makes things worse when people ultimately find out.

4 thoughts on “Restive Retired Smokeys Step Up and Speak Out”

  1. Just to clarify, Jim Golden is Chairman of the National Association of Forest Service Retirees (NAFSR), and both he and Ted Stubblefield are members of the Pacific Northwest Forest Service Association, the Pacific Northwest Region (Region 6) organization of more than 900 U.S.Forest Service retirees (and some still active service personnel who meet time in service requirement and opt to join) who call themselves the “OldSmokeys” (a combined-word name spelled just like that; sort of like a trademark). The PNWFSA’s current President, Mike Ash, will be relieved as President in May 2013 by former Regional Forester Linda Goodman.

    –Les Joslin, Editor, OldSmokeys Newsletter, Pacific Northwest Forest Service Association

  2. Wow! That picture kinds of says it all as to why “diversity” has been such an issue in the USFS the past 20 years. This looks like the retired members of a Canadian hockey league, medical doctors, or Congress in my youth.

    That (the obvious) being said, these guys did a great job and do not get the recognition they deserve for helping to bring our nation out of the Great Depression and WW II by their efforts and abilities. We all owe them a huge debt and should be paying very close attention to what they have to say regarding the management of our nation’s forests and forest wildfires.

    • Bob, I think it’s more complicated than that.. there are plenty of retired women FS retirees… even from Region 6. Part of it is that I didn’t have a lot of time to look for a photo this morning. The other part is that we tend to be less involved after we “graduate” from the Forest Service.

      I attended the first Women in Timber gathering in R-6 in 1980, and probably most of the folks there are retired.. and there were more women in other silos than timber.

      Maybe we’ve heard enough fishing and elk hunting stories for a lifetime? If I had a bucket o’ research bucks I would hire someone to go out and do interviews. Maybe there is a feeling that only old fogies join retiree groups? Which is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.


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