Yosemite Chief Retiring Amid Complaints of Hostile Workplace | NBC New York
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Yosemite Chief Retiring Amid Complaints of Hostile Workplace

The House Oversight Committee chairman had been concerned about a "corrosive culture" in the National Park Service

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP, File
    A view on the way to Glacier Point trail in the Yosemite National Park, California

    The head of Yosemite National Park is retiring following employee complaints that he created a hostile workplace by allowing bullying, harassment and other misconduct, allegations also raised in other popular national parks, officials said Thursday.

    Superintendent Don Neubacher announced his plans Wednesday, said Andrew Munoz, a spokesman for the National Park Service. It comes less than a week after a congressional oversight committee unveiled that at least 18 Yosemite staffers complained of a toxic work environment.

    UK Police: 'Fatalities' at Grande Concert

    [NATL] UK Police: 'Fatalities' at Grande Concert

    British police said an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena killed 22 people, including children, and injured more than 50. 

    (Published 5 hours ago)

    The employees described "horrific working conditions (that) lead us to believe that the environment is indeed toxic, hostile, repressive and harassing," the park service said in a preliminary report last month.

    The congressional hearing also showed wider allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and other misconduct among employees at national parks including Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

    Neubacher, who headed Yosemite for nearly seven years, was not immediately available for comment, but his emailed statement to park staffers was provided to The Associated Press.

    "I regret leaving at this time, but want to do what's best for Yosemite National Park," he said in Wednesday's message. "It is an iconic areas that is world renowned and deserves special attention."

    WATCH: Pippa Middleton Post-Wedding Kiss

    [NATL] WATCH: Pippa Middleton Post-Wedding Kiss

    Pippa Middleton and James Matthews kiss after their wedding at St Mark's Church in Englefield, England, on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Middleton, the sister of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, married hedge fund manager James Matthews in a ceremony Saturday. Her niece and nephew, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, were in the wedding party, along with sister Kate and princes Harry and William.

    (Published Saturday, May 20, 2017)

    Neubacher did not mention the allegations but listed several accomplishments the park made in recent years under his leadership, including adding 400 acres and restoring the native Western Pond turtles.

    His retirement is effective Nov. 1 and he will be on leave immediately, he said in the statement.

    At the congressional hearing, Kelly Martin, Yosemite's fire chief, testified that Neubacher publicly humiliated her and intimidated staffers in front of others.

    "In Yosemite National Park today, dozens of people, the majority of whom are women, are being bullied, belittled, disenfranchised and marginalized," according to Martin's written testimony.

    The 'Greatest Show on Earth' Says Goodbye

    [NATL-NY] The 'Greatest Show on Earth' Says Goodbye

    The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus that has wowed crowds for 146 years with its "Greatest Show on Earth" is taking its final bow on Sunday.

    (Published Sunday, May 21, 2017)

    Neubacher sent an apology email to all park employees days after the hearing, referencing "some serious staff concerns related to Yosemite's workplace environment."

    U.S. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in an AP interview Wednesday, prior to Neubacher's retirement announcement, that he was concerned about a "corrosive culture" that tolerates sexual harassment within the National Park Service and has been allowed to persist for too long.

    The Utah Republican predicted that the number of parks with sexual harassment scandals will grow as victims become more confident that they can speak up and be heard.