Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Could Ryan Zinke Lose His Job?

Ryan Zinke’s first 13 months as interior secretary—a period punctuated by investigations into his conduct and dubious spending of taxpayer money—were summed up in a recent internal investigation. On April 10, the Interior’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report on Zinke’s hasty reassignment of 27 career staffers, many of whom worked in climate science and conservation, and a disproportionate number of whom were Native Americans. The move was called politically motivated and illegal by some. But OIG investigators couldn’t make such a determination, because the reassignment team “did not document its plan or the reasons it used.” Essentially, his department kept bad paperwork. The report’s findings are consistent with how Zinke has run the department. Time and again, his decisions have been made in a rushed fashion with little public input or transparency. Take his sudden plan to reorganize his 70,000-employee department, or to throw open offshore drilling areas—decisions that upset both conservatives and progressives. James G. Watt was the last interior secretary who generated so much controversy—and he lost his job. But that was only after he became a political liability for Ronald Reagan. Thirty-five years later, in an administration swirling with controversy and under a president who cares little about traditional professionalism, it seems Zinke can do pretty much whatever he wants...MORE

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