People with the federal agency that oversees Yosemite National Park announced Friday they have a new associate director for workforce and inclusion.
Tony Nguyen began his duties Monday. National Park Service public affairs staff say Nguyen is in charge of all staffing and employee management programs for more than 22,000 employees in more than 400 national parks and offices.
“We look forward to bringing in Tony’s fresh perspective on how we can ensure that every NPS employee has a safe and respectful workplace,” Michael T. Reynolds, acting director of the National Park Service, said in prepared remarks distributed Friday.
The National Park Service announcement does not mention Yosemite, where the superintendent, Don Neubacher, retired last year amid allegations he fostered a hostile work environment, including gender bias and unequal treatment.
It also does not mention a January 2016 federal investigation report that found evidence of a long-term pattern of sexual harassment and hostile work environment in Grand Canyon National Park’s river district, where employees run whitewater trips on the Colorado River.
Tom Crosson with NPS public affairs in the nation’s capital said Friday he was not aware of any open investigations at this time.
Nguyen has 15 years in federal civil service, and his most recent job before joining the National Park Service was with the Department of Energy, where he directed the Office of Human Capital Strategy and Analysis.
The NPS announcement of Nguyen’s new role comes nine months after Neubacher retired and three months after a redacted report released by the Department of Interior Office of Inspector General found Neubacher’s management style may have contributed to employees’ perceptions of bias or harassment.
The National Park Service received a copy of the 24-page “Report of Allegations of Hostile Work Environment at Yosemite National Park” in early March, said Nancy K. DiPaolo, director of external affairs for the Interior Department Office of Inspector General.
Neubacher’s name was redacted from the public report released in early April. The NPS had about 60 days to respond to Interior OIG with any plans or actions, DiPaolo said.
As of Friday, the National Park Service had not responded to Interior OIG.
“We haven’t received a response from the National Park Service about the hostile work environment in Yosemite report,” Gillian Carroll, another spokesperson for the Interior Department Office of Inspector General, said Friday in a phone interview.
In September, Kelly Martin, a female chief of fire and aviation management in Yosemite, testified before a congressional committee about alleged misconduct and mismanagement in the globally famous national park.
“In Yosemite National Park today, dozens of people, the majority of whom are women, are being bullied, belittled, disenfranchised and marginalized from their roles as dedicated professionals,” Martin testified in Washington, D.C.
Harassment and disrespect of female employees in Yosemite National Park had become commonplace under Neubacher, members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said nine months ago.
Neubacher retired from the National Park Service at the end of September. He could not be reached Friday for comment.
As associate director for workforce and inclusion, Nguyen will be in charge of all workforce programs for the National Park Service, including staffing, compensation, benefits, employee and labor relations, employee performance management, learning and development, and youth programs.
Reynolds praised Nguyen’s experience advocating for workers at federal agencies.
“Tony has an impressive background in finding new ways to make federal agencies better places to work,” Reynolds said. “His unique experience and skills will help us better care for the heart and soul of the National Park Service — our front line employees.”
Nguyen recently completed a one-year service rotation with the Executive Office of the President in the Office of Management and Budget’s performance and personnel management division.
According to the White House, the Office of Management and Budget serves the President of the United States in overseeing implementation of his vision across the executive branch. Specifically, OMB’s mission is to assist the president in meeting policy, budget, management and regulatory objectives, and to fulfill the agency’s statutory responsibilities.