2-29-16 PEER: Jarvis ethically challenged

Jon Jarvis, the presidentially-appointed, Senate confirmed Director of the National Park Service, is an ethically-challenged individual who has been the worst NPS Director in living memory. In the latest demonstration that he thinks rules do not apply to him, the Inspector General uncovered a string of ethics violations in connection to a book about national parks that he authored.  
 
 
 
 
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February 29, 2016
Dear__,
Jon Jarvis, the presidentially-appointed, Senate confirmed Director of the National Park Service, is an ethically-challenged individual who has been the worst NPS Director in living memory. In the latest demonstration that he thinks rules do not apply to him, the Inspector General uncovered a string of ethics violations in connection to a book about national parks that he authored.  
Jarvis –
  • Approached a concessionaire for whom he had just signed an agreement for operating 138 park stores to publish his book, thus flouting conflict of interest prohibitions;
  • Kept the copyright for the book in his own name, contrary to the ban on compensation for work relating to one’s job duties;
  • Used government equipment and staff time for his personal project, while misusing his office, as the book made repeated references to his position;
  • Improperly approved display of the official NPS Arrowhead logo on the book jacket; and
  • Ignored repeated warnings that he needed to obtain ethics approval for the book (which he avoided because he did not want it edited by Interior officials).
To top it off, he then lied to his boss, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, by telling her that the concessionaire had approached him with the book idea – when it was the other way around. Jarvis didn’t think he’d get caught because he had created a bogus email trail.  He also sent Jewell a note with a copy of the newly published book which falsely declared “there are no ethics issues.” (Emphasis in original)
Oh by the way, the subject of his book is … ethics.  Pompously titled “Guidebook to American Values and Our National Parks,” it has only “sold” 228 copies –not counting the 50 or so Jarvis has sent to staff and friends.  So, his “publisher” is out several thousand dollars for his powerful patron’s vanity project.
So what was Jarvis’ punishment?  He got a written reprimand and was relieved of supervisory responsibility over the NPS ethics program. By contrast, if he were an NPS whistleblower he would almost surely face removal
Unfortunately, this case is not isolated and epitomizes the culture of corruption Jarvis has fostered during his tenure. For example –
Today, Jarvis is flying around the country in corporate jets to drum up a billion-dollar private endowment to help finance NPS Centennial celebrations. This incessant fundraising, like his book, is not particularly effective but certainly is tawdry.
America’s proverbial “Best Idea” should not be “co-branded” with breweries or bartered away in sleazy corporate “partnerships”.
 
In its centennial year, the Park Service direly needs and deserves new leadership. Help PEER remain an active park guardian.
Sincerely,
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Jeff Ruch
Executive Director
P.S. Barack Obama watches ESPN.  He apparently saw former soccer star Julie Foudy interview me in a piece called “Turf War: The Danger of Crumb Rubber” about unexamined dangers of artificial play surfaces made from shredded tires. As a result, he ordered three agencies that had been balking (EPA, the CDC and the Consumer Product Safety Commission) to begin to scope out a risk assessment. We raised concerns that there may be no actual follow-up to the proposed “Action Plan” – a complaint which earned me another spot on ESPN to debate an industry toxicologist. We hope the President was watching because his administration could take steps right now to ensure that playgrounds and sports fields for young athletes are safe
Support our work to make playgrounds safe and sign the White House petition calling for action that tire-crumb playgrounds are made lead-free and meet statutory chemical limits for a “children’s product”.    
P.P.S. It is said that laws, like sausages, are best kept out of view during production. Add federal scientific integrity review to that unsightly list.  Look at how the promises by Barack Obama in 2009 that during his administration there would be no political suppression of science, there would be full transparency and scientists would not face reprisal for controversial findings have been stood on their heads. Franz Kafka would feel right at home in today’s USDA. 
P.P.P.S. You can also follow PEER on Twitter and Facebook. Also if you do not already receive our award-winning newsletter PEEReview, you can subscribe here.
 
 
 
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2 Comments

  1. Rem

     /  March 6, 2016

    Fire Jarvis with no pension for his abuse of power

    Reply
  2. Erich Veyhl

     /  March 6, 2016

    Jarvis’ lack of ethics is typical of NPS arrogance and abuse steam rolling private property owners and local communities for a century. Nor is this scandal the only recent example for Jarvis.  A few months ago NPS illegally expanded Acadia National Park, thumbing its nose at the 1986 law confining the park to a "permanent boundary".  NPS declared the previous law from 1929 still in effect and that the permanent boundary restriction was not intended to apply to it’s expansion.  Laws they don’t like don’t apply to them. Jarvis is also now part of a political scheme to establish a new National Park in the Maine woods through National Monument presidential decree to bypass popular opposition and lack of Congressional approval.  The National Monument is being cynically promoted as a way to make it politically easier to incrementally impose a new park, trapping inholders who don’t want it (not the first time).  They are calling it a "gift to the people".  Multimillionaire Roxanne Quimby (on the National Parks Foundation and a crony of Jarvis and Interior Secretary Jewell) bought piecemeal over a hundred thousand acres for the announced purpose of politically imposing a 30 year old failed plan to get around decades of popular opposition.   They ideologically want to impose Federal control to eliminate private property rights and impose Wilderness restoration to primitive pre-settlement conditions. It runs in the family for Jarvis.  His brother Destry Jarvis was in charge of the 1988 National Park Service Plan calling for an over 100 million acre expansion of the system, a guaranteed $1 billion a year off budget entitlement for land acquisition, independence of NPS from Congressional oversight, and establishment of greenline buffer zone controls outside National Parks.  The Jarvis Plan was produced by the National Parks and Conservation Association, the NPS private lobby arm, in collaboration with NPS officials.  They did it outside the agency with Rockefeller money because the Reagan administration would not permit the agency to plan for more expansion.  Reagan NPS Director William Penn Mott, who was on the NPCA board of directors, openly praised the NPCA Plan.  The NPS Plan was intended to resume, after the Reagan administration, the massive land acquisition and condemnations of the Carter administration under Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus, which had been throttled by the Reagan administration by curtailing funding.  NPS Director Mott was also officially reprimanded for other unethical political activism during his tenure. The Jarvis expansion plan became a major national controversy when it was released in 1988 with national media promotion and an intense Congressional lobbying.  Part of the Plan is to turn private property designated by NPS as National Natural Landmarks into new National Parks under what NPS considers to be a "feeder program"; Jarvis called the Landmarks "ladies in waiting".  The NNLP was temporarily shut down in the early 1990s by Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME) when the Interior Inspector General found that NPS and its activist cohorts were violating the civil rights of thousands of land owners by systematically and secretly surveillancing and arranging for the official designations of private property without land owner knowledge or approval.  Bush NPS Director Ridenour had continued the scam despite landowner protests as people began to find out what was being done. When the program was shut down, NPS Senior Executives responsible for it were given raises and promotions as an internal political reward.  Clinton-Gore revived the program and it continues to this day. You don’t have to look far in "living memory" for NPS arrogance and ethical abuse, and it didn’t start in the 1970s or end in the 1980s and 90s.  The arrogant corruption has been inherent in the elitist National Park Service from its very beginning in the early Progressive era. At 11:11 AM 3/6/2016, Drakes Bay Oyster Company & the National Park Service.     Watc wrote: Jane Gyorgy posted: "Jon Jarvis, the presidentially-appointed, Senate confirmed Director of the National Park Service, is an ethically-challenged individual who has been the worst NPS Director in living memory. In the latest demonstration that he thinks rules do not apply to "

    Reply

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