Head of Grand Canyon cleared of undisclosed allegations

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Flagstaff, Ariz.• A U.S. investigation at Grand Canyon National Park has ended with the exoneration of the park’s superintendent and an announcement that she’ll return to work shortly.

Christine Lehnertz was reassigned in October whereas investigators from the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General appeared into undisclosed allegations in the direction of her.Lehnertz knowledgeable The Associated Press the allegations haven’t been disclosed to her, each, and she or he would know further when the report is launched.

“Until I read the report, I’m really not going to be able to comment on it,” she said. “For me, I’m excited to get back to the canyon and eager to get back to work.”

Lehnertz is a talented environmental biologist who has been with the Park Service for better than 10 years.

She took the Grand Canyon job in 2016 as a result of the park’s first female superintendent after a sexual harassment scandal led to the retirement of its former chief. She was reassigned all through the investigation because of this of the Park Service said it wished to protect the integrity of the probe.

Lehnertz spent the earlier 4 months understanding of the corporate’s regional office in Denver on a mission doing development and training for park superintendents, she said.

The investigation had been a distraction from spending time alongside along with her family in Denver, she said, after the present dying of her mother.

She’s anticipating to return to her job on the Grand Canyon after the Presidents Day trip and some week sooner than the park celebrates its centennial. The Grand Canyon is among the many many nation’s busiest nationwide parks with better than six million visitors a yr.

“Over the months, my resolve only grew stronger to return to Grand Canyon,” Lehnertz said. “It’s been a rough go, but as I return to the park, my focus is going to be the same — building a respectful and inclusive workplace.”

Lehnertz was tasked with altering the custom on the Grand Canyon after an earlier report by the Inspector General’s Office found that some male employees throughout the now-defunct river district demanded intercourse from female colleagues and retaliated in the direction of women who refused.

Then-Superintendent Dave Uberuaga was compelled to retire in May 2016. He wasn’t implicated throughout the allegations of sexual assault, nevertheless federal investigators accused him of failing to appropriately look into and report them. He saved his job all through the investigation.

Lehnertz said she’s labored to create an setting the place employees actually really feel safe and supported, using therapeutic circles, talking about organizational resilience and zeroing out the backlog of complaints about misconduct.

She said most employees have been receptive nevertheless positive personnel actions have been onerous on others.

“It’s my job to uphold those and keep people accountable,” she said.

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