Coalition of 52 retired special agents, law enforcement officers, claims US Forest Service's Law Enforcement and Investigations program is 'in a state of crisis' in letter to USDA secretary; signatories call for program director to be reassigned
May 6, 2014
– A coalition of retired Forest Service special agents and law enforcement officers sees their former program “in a state of crisis” that can be cured only by reassigning the current director. The group, representing more than a millennium of Federal law enforcement service, is imploring Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack to intervene to end a “culture of negative leadership” afflicting the agency’s Law Enforcement and Investigations (LE&I) program, according to correspondence posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)..
Signed by 52 LE&I veterans, the letter focuses on “the incompetence of its current Director, David L. Ferrell” and includes a detailed analysis of how Mr. Ferrell lacks every one of the Executive Core Qualifications required by Office of Personnel Management to remain in his current Senior Executive Service position. The letter ascribes to Ferrell’s poor leadership –.
“Director David Ferrell has lost the confidence and respect of 80% of the officers he is supposed to be leading –a colossal failure of inspiring and motivating your workforce,” said Jack Gregory, the retired Special Agent-in-Charge for the Southeastern Region who first hired Ferrell into LE&I, citing results from the PEER survey. “We could no longer simply stand by and watch the program to which we dedicated our professional lives slowly be destroyed.”
The retirees turned to Secretary Vilsack when it became clear that Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell would not address the problems. Following an April 11th all-hands meeting which drew hundreds of negative and virtually no positive comments about Ferrell, Tidwell backtracked on his promise to release all the comments and appeared to signal that removing Ferrell was not under active consideration..
“Chief Tidwell failed to provide the proper oversight and guidance to a program that requires both financial support as well as common sense,” added Gregory who helped organize the group letter. “Unfortunately Chief Tidwell is like the irresponsible homeowner who fails to check for termites while the house is being eaten from within, down to its foundation.”.
“It takes very serious problems to stir retirees back into the harness,” stated PEER Director Jeff Ruch. “Their voices of experience should not be ignored.”.