Here’s the note from Secretary Purdue:
Dear Forest Service Family:
I want you to know that I understand that it has been a difficult week in the Forest Service. While challenges remain in fostering a workplace that is rewarding, responsive, and respectful, the Forest Service has taken concrete steps to improve the working environment for all employees. In fact, the Office of Inspector General is issuing a report on those issues later today, which will confirm progress with new processes to combat sexual harassment and protect victims from retaliation. The report will also highlight ongoing concerns and make constructive recommendations on what can be done better. At the same time, the Forest Service must focus on the mission of promoting and maintaining healthy and productive forests for the taxpayers and future generations.
To help achieve these goals, today I have appointed Vicki Christiansen as Interim Chief of the Forest Service. Vicki has been serving as Deputy Chief of State and Private Forestry in the agency and brings with her the experience of a long career in forestry, natural resources, and fire leadership positions. She takes on her new role during a time of challenges and new opportunities at the Forest Service, and I trust everyone will make her feel welcome.
As you know, our policy priorities for the Forest Service include returning forests to health and productivity, finally fixing the problem of fire funding, and making sure that Good Neighbor Authority is more than just a slogan. With seven years at the Forest Service and 30 with the states of Arizona and Washington, Vicki knows what is needed to restore our forests and put them back to work for the taxpayers. As a former wildland firefighter and fire manager, she knows first-hand that failure to properly maintain forests leads to longer and more severe fire seasons. And as a former State Forester, she knows the benefits of Good Neighbor Authority and how best to partner with our state and local colleagues. Vicki’s professional experience will complement these efforts and help us achieve those objectives.
As we promote and maintain healthy, productive forests and preserve our natural resources, we will work to ensure a place where people can work with respect and dignity.
I am confident that the entire Forest Service family will rally behind Vicky Christiansen as Interim Chief as we move forward.
Yup, IMHO choosing a woman as interim is a good symbolic stroke, as well as someone who understands the Fire Biz. FWIW I also think that choosing someone who came up through State and Private will add some thought diversity.