Excerpt from a Greenwire article today:
The Bureau of Land Management is asking its employees for input into how to potentially revamp its headquarters to improve the bureau’s “function” after a massive Trump-era reorganization that included moving the leadership office to Colorado.
BLM, in an internal survey sent yesterday to all employees, asks staffers to gauge, on a scale of 1 to 10, the “Impact of BLM HQ Relocations” to Grand Junction, Colo., and other state offices in the West, on “employee morale” and “the function of the BLM overall.”
It also asks staffers point-blank: “In light of the recent relocation and current distribution of HQ positions in Grand Junction, Washington D.C. and other locations in the West, how should the BLM move forward?” Among the four answers employees can choose from: “Restore all positions to a D.C. location” and “Leave all positions as they are now.”
The survey also seeks employee input on how best to move the headquarters back to Washington, if the Biden administration ultimately decides to do so.
4 thoughts on “BLM: Back to the (DC) Future?”
It’s good to ask employees what they think.
Also, according to this https://www.cpr.org/2021/01/28/only-41-blm-employees-moved-west-with-their-jobs-nearly-300-left-the-bureau-instead/,
Colorado legislators have indicated they will fight to keep the BLM HQ in the state.
“Last week, Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper wrote to President Joe Biden to reiterate their support for a “full BLM headquarters in Grand Junction.”
“We believe that such an effort must be more than symbolic and must include the staff and resources to improve management and protect our public land.”
Sounds like typical financial politics. This move should have never happened. In the USFS my feet “were on the ground” even though in a RO. Being too close to the ground can create biases. Colo Senators should know this.
But being in DC can create biases as well. Long commutes and expensive housing can create stressed employees..or difficulty in getting the “best” ones. I know as a “stuck in DC employee due to family” that I benefitted from more qualified candidates not applying. And Interior already had a big presence in Denver.
I spoke with a retired BLM official and all this became much clearer. This is about the equivalent of FS Chief and Deputy Chiefs (career leadership) being in Grand Junction while the politicals are in DC. This is not positive for relationship building with people you don’t know and it’s important to have trust with. In fact, I heard that the current politicals had not run this employee survey past the career folks. So it’s really about people having relationships and beer with key people in other agencies, NGO’s, on the Hill and so on.
I agree that (if we were thinking the FS equivalent) all the Deputies and possibly Directors should be in DC.. but maybe not their staffs. It would be interesting to hear the views of the Minerals folks in the FS, whose DC office was moved on a very rational/non-political (as far as I know, it was part of “Strategic Enhancement” or “A New Dawn of Organization,” or whatever that downsizing effort was called) basis to Denver. This, as you might imagine, was very positive for Region 2 when the WO folks moved down the hall. I don’t know whether they are still there.