OXNARD~~journal ~~~~~ U N L E A S H E D


Something Fishy in the Fish and Wildlife Service. . . .


What would you do if you learned that a government resource agency misused money ear-marked to save the environment? How would you feel if you learned money for nature and wildlife was used to buy high-cost legal services to bust a birthing union and to get legal help in squashing ever increasing EEO complaints. Well it happened, and believe it or not ~ THIS TIME the government is not covering up or doing the Potomac Shuffle, nor are they applying gallons of white-out on incriminating documents.

The Government is coming after this agency.

FYI - go to http://www.gao.gov/decisions/appro/290005.htm

What the Oxnard Journal knows is even more personal.
The editor knows people involved and witnessed the actions that were finally caught by the Goverment Accounting Office (GAO).

Last I heard, the Government itself had more jurisdiction over revenue resources than did any of it's subordinate departments, agencies, or appendages thereof.


What happened here is that individuals within the Fish & Wildlife Service thought they knew better how to spend precious resource dollars than did their financial provisioner, the US Government. The government does have checks and balances and the balance has weighed heavilly against the Fish folks within the Department of the Interior and namely within California and Washington state.


Oddly enough Mr. Sam Vitaro is the only human mentioned within the text of that GAO bulletin. He was the man used by the F&W Service to do "Fact-Finding" visits. Now we learn his visits were to gather information not readily obtainable by managment. These facts from the victims of harrassment and abuse were compiled by Mr. Vitaro and then Sam presented these facts to the management that created the abusive work environment in the first place. Cool Set-up eh?

SAM Vitaro --- Sam VITARO --- SAM V. ---- Sammy Vee ---- Sam

Imagine that, an environmental agency charged to care for nature and the planet spending it's time and money harrassing and investigating its work force.


Other than Mr. Vitaro, we have Congressional Rep. Dan Burton and Ms. Susan Poling at (202) 512-2667 who is there to help us. Anthony H. Gamboa General Counsel for the GAO wrote the notice. We thank him for his service to our tax dollars.

In addition to Mr. Vitaro: the hunks of hair: Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy - are mentioned as one of the attorney partnerships used to handle personnel issues, EEOs and labor relations issues - (i.e., UNION ISSUES). There were other firms used in addition to PGF&M.


During the past couple of years, the NAGE union was making a bid to create a bargaining unit at the Fish & Wildlife Office in Ventura, Calif.
External legal services from law firms on the east coast were used to advise management on how to deflect the Union (NAGE) from being approved for the office. These legal services were paid for excluseively using 1112-funds which are legally mandated by Public Law for Recovery of endangered species, not the Recovery of management's grasp on it's own work force.


The GAO report only mentions Vitaro's use by the Fish service in the last year. Sam Vitaro has been busy longer than that. He came to the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office in 1998 after an EEO was filed.
The result of Vitaro's visit was the ever famous "BLACK FRIDAY" when the CNO (California Nevada Operations) office came down on the staff of the Ventura Fish office with a heavy hand and threats to shape up or else.

BLACK FRIDAY created the perfect opportunity for the Union to come to the aid of the abused workers. A preliminary vote by the Ventura Fish office staff initially voted the union in.


What resulted from that vote approving a potential Union Bargaining Unit in Ventura - created an anxiety within Management to squash the Pro-Union Fervor. They couldn't do it legally by using the Solicitor's office because busting a Union is illegal. Management decided to mis-use Recovery resource funds - secretly behind the backs of the legally entitled Solicitors.


Funds intended for the preservation of the California Condor, the Southern Sea Otter, the California Tiger Salamander, the Red-legged Frog and every endangered and threatened species were not used for intended purpose.


Ventura Office's jurisdiction and charge over these species ranges from the I-10 in Santa Monica to the pristine hills of Santa Cruz....all this geographic area is the sole responsiblity of the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office as is the use of these funds.


As a result of this and other mismanagement, eight EEO complaints from the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office alone have been formally presented to the Los Angeles EEOC (Commission).

These eight complaints represent 12% of last year's total all US Fish & Wildlife Service-Wide (USFWS) cumulative formal complaints. 12% of the entire Fish and Wildlife Service within an office of 40 people.

Imagine that - thousands of other FWS federal employees doing well and not needing to file formal unanswered EEO greivances.....Hmmm.....Only in Ventura! ! !


More on this as the Government goes to work......


Why do I report this - 'cause it happened.....


----- Bill Winter ------

" Be There Before You Arrive"