Prior to July 1993 I worked for the Department of Defense. Now and then there would be instances that called for the Equal Employment Opportunity Council (EEOC) to step in. Since I was very active, while working for the Army, and held some choice positions with the Civilian Personnel Office and later as the Congressional Liaison, Sixth U.S. Army and Presidio of San Francisco, my understanding of this due process was thorough.
Sometimes, some of us (people of color), thought we had it bad. Bad my foot, I really knew what bad was when I started working for the National Park Service (NPS).
I started working for the NPS in July of 1993. At first I thought I had it wrong. The NPS called the EEOC plain EOC, Equal Opportunity Council. Employment -- the key ingredient -- was left out. I attended all the Quad conferences for many years. The Quad conferences gather Federal employees from all agencies to discuss matters linked to the EEO. Other Federal agencies called the entity that monitors discrimination, and other unfair employment practices Equal Employment Opportunity Councils.
As I am prone to do, I began to ask questions. "You do not ask questions," said Dave Rice. He was the leader of the EOC, and tried his best to run the EOC at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) headquarters, Fort Mason, building 102. I attended one or two or the EOC meetings, prior to joining the GGNRA, EOC. The meetings did not impress me, I saw the need for immediate change. The EOC had a budget of $500. I was shocked.
I joined the NPS Equal Opportunity Council, but always stated when I spoke that it was the Equal Employment Opportunity Council. The first project I undertook was organizing a multi-cultural event. It would cost me in those days about $3500. There was no way I could get any money from the NPS to cover any of this expense.
I also helped re-write the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) with Karen Pierce, who was a lawyer and African American. Together, we made many things happen. It matters when you have a lawyer present.
I first inquired if the NPS had any non-appropriated funds. "What the heck are you talking about?" I was asked. "Well, I come from the Department of Defense and we do have it there," I said. "Well, here all we have is this paltry sum of $500 and most of it is spent!"
The Army (for the information of the readers) has two main accounts or fiscal operations, appropriated and non-appropriated. The Army, along with most other federal agencies, cannot aid events and pay from the Appropriated Accounts. These monies are set aside for a targeted project or purpose. The Army, however, could help underwrite multi-cultural events and other recreational activities that helped the Army and civilian employees from its Non-Appropriated Funds. The Non-Appropriated Funds were attained from the Army's recreation facilities, the Commissary, the Post Exchange, the Shopette and so on.
So, when I had the multi-cultural function (even though I worked for the NPS), I had the Army underwrite a lot of the event since I knew the General and the General in charge knew me and loved what I did. Remember, I worked for the NPS but was supported by the Army. A patron paid for a substantial amount of the expenses, he had once worked on the Presidio of San Francisco and was pleased to help us all. The check was made to the Officers' Club which was run by the Army. A token five dollars donation from some of the employees helped towards some of the expenses.
The multi-cultural events consisted of dance performances from both Native American and African American groups. It also consisted of a seven-course luncheon, something most of the NPS employees had not witnessed as employees. The Officers' Club had their waiters serve us in royal style. The NPS management were aghast and never expected such a treat.
I offered the Superintendent, Brian O'Neill, as our speaker and he praised us and me to the sky. Every year following that year I did all in my power to have a multi-cultural event. The very first one was held in July, 1994. After that we held it in February, the shortest month of the year and the month set aside to celebrate Black History Month.
I was instrumental in organizing and putting in place the first African American Association (AAA) having nonprofit status 501( c ) 3 in the entire National Park System. We could do this because at one time the Gays and Lesbians Association was strong. The called themselves GALA. They are now defunct. Against great odds I have kept the AAA alive at great fiscal expense to myself. Last year for example I had to pay over a thousand dollars from my own pocket. The rest of the money was given to me by two supporters.
Added to this I had to pay to bus 50 children from the Martin Luther King, Jr. school to the Golden Gate Club. The NPS did not support us with any monetary assistance. We did get the Golden Gate Club free but the National Park Association can write off this amount as we are a nonprofit association.
It has been a great struggle every year to organize and pay for the Black History Month event. This year I started early. I booked the Ball Room and the Prince Room at the Golden Gate Club. I approached the Superintendent, Brian O'Neill, because he promised me that this year he would help defray the food expenses. He set a trap. We are now beholden to his point of contact -- an African American who has never ever helped us and to the EOC which wants to support us. Both these entities have never ever supported us before. Yet they have forced us to attend meetings, called meetings and cancelled them, suggested plans with no action, in short, they have used tactics to foul our function.
I am of the humble opinion that we should have the Black History Month event without the support of those that want to jump on the bandwagon to take credit for something they do not deserve. Racists tactics have always been used to separate the employees. Now, that the authorities see that we are a force to be reckoned with, they want to join the AAA to destroy us. This fact is so sad it makes me puke, yes puke!
Last year we approached the Trust and invited them to participate in the Black History Month celebration, which they did. Prior to that, the Trust was not in full operation but James Meadows and Graig Middleton did attend our Black History Month function.
Since the AAA does not have direct links with the Trust, we trust the Trust to cooperate and send their employees to our event. The Trust after all has the majority of our members who had to leave the NPS, after the NPS could not accommodate them.
The NPS for the longest time ever always sang the song that they would accommodate and help the NPS employees. How ever when they saw fit they dumped their hard working employees, mostly people of color and had them transferred to the Trust.
After all we all know very well who are the ones that toil hard for their living. We also know the crooks who live off the fat and connive at the expense of those who work hard. At this time it would be proper to mention the name of two great African American women who were forced out by the NPS, Mille Bristow and Darlene Williams. God bless them. To those that participated in their forced removal, may they reap their reward on this earth.
So what does representation mean at this Park? We have the NPS, we have the Trust, we have the National Park Association (NPA), we have the U.S. Park Police.
Are all the above entities Federal agencies? The Trust is called a quasi-federal agency. To be honest I do not understand what that is. The Trust does not have REPRESENTATION -- meaning a Union. It purports to offer its employees rights that have been fought for by Unions and known to us as fair labor practices. But, it does not have representation.
The National Park Association is private and in the business of making money at any cost. Many people mistake the NPA for the NPS. The NPS is the Federal entity, the other is a money making machine.
The U.S. Park Police does have representation. The U.S. Park Police representation has done well and even recently handled some delicate situations, with what I will call "finesse". Enough said. After all, I work for them.
Some years ago the U.S. Park Police joined hands with the NPS Union, Laborers' International Union of North America, Local 1141. Together, they helped set aside housing for the Police and the NPS emergency staff. The U.S. Park Police also joined hands with the Park Rangers and helped them get a pay raise. The U.S. Park Police Union representatives have without fail represented their members well.
I am proud to be a card carrying member and have been for years with several unions. If I was not, I could not count on my famous renegade brigade -- followers who understand and deliver for the common cause and the good of the majority! My renegade brigade does not intend to use violence, but as a Jesuit and working for the Army I trained myself well to understand the ENEMY. I will work with the enemy, as I have, and will offer the enemy the same medication the enemy offers but with a different coloring. Enough said.
So, the Trust has no representation. The NPA has no representation and does not know what representation means. The U.S. Park Police does have representation. The fourth entity in this equation is the NPS, and it does have representation. As I said I am a card carrying member. It has been a heck of a struggle to work with Management who represent the NPS.
One of the main issues that plague the NPS organization is ineptitude and the dire need for accountability. Of course the leader of the pack is not the Superintendent (who is in my opinion a puppet and speaks from both sides of his mouth), but one who has risen from being a motley GS-4 to a GS-14. Her name is SUSAN HURST.
THIS WOMAN HAS SINGLE-HANDEDLY DESTROYED THE CAREERS OF SO MANY. AND IS SO SADDER STILL, SHE CONTINUES TO DESTROY THE CAREERS OF SO MANY. SHE SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE. SHE IS ANATHAMA TO GGNRA.
Even though we have representation from the Union. One cannot and WE will not make progress if we know fully well that there is a CANCER and we continue to allow the CANCER to destroy the system.
A case in point: the NPS Management and the Union should have already met months ago to renegotiate its CURRENT CONTRACT. The venue has been changed so many times by the NPS Management that it is a sad reflection of the NPS organization. Point Reyes, Sacramento, here, there, now at last it is going to be held at Lower Fort Mason. Why this dilly dally nonsense?
I will tell you why. There are people like Susan Hurst who truly believe that they control the destiny of the GGNRA and that without Ms. Hurst the GGNRA would fall apart. Dictators believe like this -- but in this case paranoia reigns supreme. As I have stated, this woman should go away. I will request the Director of the National Park Service, when I am in Washington D.C. to see that the woman goes away.
From time to time on this web site we have mentioned the National Park Association. This body is separate from the National Park Service. The NPS is the federal entity. The NPA is harder to figure out, but one thing is sure. They have millions of dollars in their kitty in the name of the GGNRA and they call the shots. This is a shame. There should be strict laws that prohibit such marriages of convenience, that foster conflict of interest. I know of no other private entity that has so much easy access to a Federal entity -- and that the private entity superimposes the Federal entity. This is a serious joke!
Why should any private, for profit agency be under the same roof as the NPS? Both share the same roof at building 102, at Fort Mason. Secondly, why should a private agency interfere with a Federal Agency and poke their nose in daily operations?
The NPS today uses volunteers as interpreters which robs and denies federally trained NPS interpreters of their livelihood. Today, for example there are fewer Interpreters on Alcatraz then some years ago.
Today, NPA volunteers conduct tours at night on Federal property just because they have the link that bring money into their kitty. Some of this money is used for Park purposes (whether legally or illegally the I.R.S. should determine).
It is a shame when private organizations use money to deter fair representation.
We have made some attempt to reveal REPRESENTATION perhaps for the first time in the history of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area's history. The GGNRA has an Advisory Council that should monitor the NPS. It does not. There is absolutely no entity to monitor the NPS and the NPA for strict accountability.
Now to add insult to all that I have stated, the Chair of the Trust Board also enjoys a position with the National Park Association. In the equation of representation we realize that the two entities -- one quasi federal and the other private -- has the President of the Trust Board, wheeling and dealing with the National Park Association. Could there be a worse conflict of interest?
It is a shame that in the Bay Area (with all the wonderful stuff that happens here) that no one entity is bold enough to take the culprits to task. Again and again conflict of interests is the name of the game within GGNRA. Huge sums of money are spent just as they were spent when the NPS managed the Presidio. Today nothing has changed with the Trust controlling 80% of the Presidio.
The common person, the employee, whether a woman or a man, does not have due representation. The NPS has so many in management holding high position and reaping from the taxpayer. To date there is no proper organizational chart but if one was produced it would be a joke. Most everyone in Management is a GS-13 and above. They should not be fit to be a GS-7 -- not with what is going on and the rampant ineptness and corruption on all levels of Management.
Again and again solid facts have been reported to the General Accounting Office, the Inspector General's Office, the Director of the National Park Service, the Regional Director, the Secretary, of the Interior, Congresspersons and Senator. To date, the corruption and the ineptness prevails.
The GGNRA has the highest amount of EEO cases pending against them. It is such a shame that when I attended the Blacks in Government conference in New Orleans, it was mentioned without the speaker from the Interior Department knowing that I worked at GGNRA.
It is common knowledge that rampant racism prevails. Again and again, against great odds the Director, Bob Stanton (who heads the National Park Service), has brought this fact to the attention of the Superintendent, Brian O'Neill, and to the Administrative Officer, Susan Hurst. He also brought it to the attention of a former Assistant Superintendent, Len McKenzie, and to the former Regional Director Stan Albright, along with the present Regional Director, John Reynolds. Mr Stanton brought this rampant racism to all these people's attention -- but to no avail.
Unions and entities like the EEO represent their employees. They represent their employees because UNION members and others died to safeguard fair labor practices.
Today, at GGNRA the EEO poster purporting to show the EEO representatives has photographs of EEO representatives who no longer work for the Park. The last poster was created several years ago. The present EEO has no clout and is a lame duck council. The present Administrative Officer and the Human Resources Manager run the show. You either follow their orders or suffer the consequences.
We do not have one qualified person of color in Management here at GGNRA who can make decision that can affect and help people of color and the employees in general. This is a sad state of affairs. Enough said.