Friday, June 16, 2017

Zinke moving dozens of senior Interior officials in shake-up

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is reassigning top career officials within his ranks, a shake-up that appears to be the start of a broad reorganization of a department that manages one-fifth of all land within the United States. The decision to move members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) is only legally permitted after a political appointee has been in office for 120 days; Zinke won’t reach that mark until June 28. But the letters that three dozen or more Interior officials got Thursday night — one of which was obtained by The Washington Post — provides them with 15 days notice of their job change. The notice means their reassignments could take place at the earliest date that’s legally permissible. An official with the Senior Executives Association, which represents 6,000 of the government’s top leaders, said the reassignments at Interior could involve as many as 50 people. While the exact number of Interior letters sent was not immediately clear Friday, the push appears much broader than what both Republican and Democratic administrations have pursued in the past. Administrations usually wait until the Senate has confirmed appointees that oversee individual agencies within a department; at this point, Zinke remains Interior’s only Senate-confirmed appointee...The officials who received notices include Interior’s top climate policy official, Joel Clement, who directs the Office of Policy Analysis, as well as at least five senior Fish and Wildlife Service officials — nearly a quarter of that agency’s career SES staff. Among the Fish and Wildlife officials are the assistant director for international affairs, Bryan Arroyo; the southwest regional director, Benjamin Tuggle; and the southeast regional director, Cindy Dohner. Other moves include the transfer of BLM New Mexico state director Amy Lueders to Fish and Wildlife...more

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