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vogtski
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vogtski
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PostFri Jan 06, 2023 4:31 pm 
kiliki wrote:
Regional offices are skeleton crews these days. The physical space and staff have shrunk massively. Generally when someone has retired in the last 10-20 years, their position is not filled.
Thanks for the correction! Those 70's rangers claimed half the NPS annual appropriation never made it out of DC or past the various Regional Offices to the actual parks, tho at least some of them were not above seeking promotion there. Perhaps the loss of those career opportunities is connected to the current more rapid management turnover?

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bullfrog
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PostSun Jan 08, 2023 8:11 am 
Big article in the Sunday Seattle Times about the road closure: https://www.seattletimes.com/life/outdoors/paradise-lost-angst-mounts-over-mount-rainier-national-park-weekday-closure/ If the paywall is blocking you, here's what the park superintendent says: "Over a month into the closure, park leadership insists it is making strides in the short term and preparing for the long term. “We are leaving no stone unturned in trying to open the road to Paradise more days this winter,” said Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Greg Dudgeon. “For next winter, we are working proactively now to come up with solutions so this doesn’t happen again.” But I'm concerned that if they can close it this year with little protest, they will continue to do it in the future. Time to contact your senators and representatives.

fourteen410, ChinookPass, vogtski
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gb
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PostSun Jan 08, 2023 8:38 am 
bullfrog wrote:
Big article in the Sunday Seattle Times about the road closure: https://www.seattletimes.com/life/outdoors/paradise-lost-angst-mounts-over-mount-rainier-national-park-weekday-closure/ If the paywall is blocking you, here's what the park superintendent says: "Over a month into the closure, park leadership insists it is making strides in the short term and preparing for the long term. “We are leaving no stone unturned in trying to open the road to Paradise more days this winter,” said Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Greg Dudgeon. “For next winter, we are working proactively now to come up with solutions so this doesn’t happen again.” But I'm concerned that if they can close it this year with little protest, they will continue to do it in the future. Time to contact your senators and representatives.
Totally agree. Only Congress can increase funding for competitive hiring bonuses or for employee lodging subsidies. i cannot imagine that the funds required would be very large.

bullfrog, vogtski
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Bruce Albert
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PostSun Jan 08, 2023 4:28 pm 
There's some New Math and missing pieces in play here, or maybe just some losses in translation from Dudgeon to reporter to reader, or maybe I'm just a bit thick, but: Wage ranges in the article from @25.xx up to $39.XX vs ranges in the ads reposted above of $19.xx and up Claims in the article that housing is available, vs previous statements above in this thread that it is not. They need 26 people to be open 7 days; they are 13 short including 5 plow crew. What would the other 8 do? Matter of fact, what do the 26 do? I'd love to see a manifest showing budgeted and necessary position, description, GS wage range, seasonal/year round status, and filled/vacant status. Then I (and everyone else)would be able to grasp how things actually stand. The article infers that without the 26, 7 day operation is impossible, meaning I guess that if the custodian calls in sick the whole schmutz goes on hold? Moreover some of the positions mentioned have to function each and every day, road open or not. You can't just flip the switch on your wastewater treatment or water treatment plant off on Sunday night and come back Friday. A lot of that stuff is going on 7 days a week and relying on access to Paradise regardless of road open/closed status. No mention of any consideration of a plan to have the road open 4 or 5 days a week, instead of two or seven, thus maybe meeting their self imposed bare bones requirement and cutting their losses as well. Dare I point out that with 13 supposedly on staff (26-13 remember?), 9 are attending the morning meeting apparently being held well after sunrise on one of the shortest days of the year? Probably gonna be a little late on the road, huh? For the man who is the big dog in the hot seat in the corner office I consider Mr. Dudgeon's liberal use of the word "we" with reference to management decisions to be amusing. But anyway, I agree this is the larger nut of the issue:
bullfrog wrote:
But I'm concerned that if they can close it this year with little protest, they will continue to do it in the future.
This is pretty much what happened over at Cayuse Pass about 50 years ago. Faced with a very heavy winter the WSDOT gave up on keeping it open. Fair enough but they never kept it open or even tried again, thin winter or thick, ever again...just washed their hands and went, "Dude, it's too deep. Something could avalanche." Lord knows where the plowing budget savings, which had to have been considerable, went. Dangerously on the edge of the topic but not horribly so is this: I am constantly bombarded with news that there is a severe and persistent worker shortage in the United States. I am also constantly informed that thousands upon thousands of those whose dreams would be realized by admission to this country to live and work are daily turned away at the border. Is this not absolutely nuts? Why the hell, if we do not have enough of us to do the necessary work, are we not letting people in to help and to realize their dreams as well?

bullfrog, vogtski, Waterman
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vogtski
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vogtski
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PostMon Jan 09, 2023 6:26 am 
Bruce Albert wrote:
They need 26 people to be open 7 days; they are 13 short including 5 plow crew. What would the other 8 do? Matter of fact, what do the 26 do? I'd love to see a manifest showing budgeted and necessary position, description, GS wage range, seasonal/year round status, and filled/vacant status. Then I (and everyone else)would be able to grasp how things actually stand.
Good questions! Given the overall lack of NPS financial transparency, I'm surprised even the info you cited was released, but baby steps are better than nothing, I suppose. Based on their complaints in previous press releases, here's my guess for those eight: 2 EMTs, 1 avalanche evaluator, 4 law enforcement (2 pairs of 2 each shift), and 1 LE supervisor. Speaking of big dogs, Dudgeon's costume in his press release redlines my 'poser-meter'. I'd bet he spent more time in Anchorage than all those remote parks combined: https://mustreadalaska.com/controversial-park-service-supervisor-promoted-to-mount-rainier-park-post/

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cascadeclimber
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PostMon Jan 09, 2023 8:26 am 
Bruce Albert wrote:
I am constantly bombarded with news that there is a severe and persistent worker shortage in the United States.
There is no worker shortage. There is a pay shortage. And, just like has been pointed out here about MORA's conflicting statements/ads, there is a lot of double-talk. Stevens management claimed there was a worker shortage last year. Not a peep about that from them this year and they are fully open. Did they suddenly find a secret stash of workers that no one else knows about? "Staffing shortage" has been an ebbing and flowing but consistently present excuse for not opening the road in winter for over a decade now. Depending on the audience, budget has been 100% blamed or said to be not relevant. Meanwhile the park Superintendent has chosen to spend millions on unnecessary projects: Blasting in a congressionally designated wilderness to create an additional helipad at Schurman, multiple Camp Muir renovations mostly for the benefit of the guide services, webcams at high camps, internet service at high camps for rangers, cell phone boosters, etc. Yeah, they claim that stuff comes out of a different bucket of money, but I've been in enough orgs to know that this is little more than a carefully crafted setup for doing what they want. They also, like the DNR, consistently fail to account for increased fixed costs when they create new structure (physical electronic, procedural, etc), which directly contributes to operating expense budget problems. Anecdotally, as someone who's been going to the park since the mid-90s, there seems to have been a significant attitude change about the Paradise road in winter. 30 years ago getting the road open, and I think it was consistently earlier then, seemed like a point of pride for the park. Now it really feels like they will use any possible excuse to leave it closed. "Doing less with more" isn't a recipe for enlisting support for a bigger budget.

If not now, when?

fourteen410, vogtski, bullfrog
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bccarlso
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PostMon Jan 09, 2023 10:02 am 
Quote:
U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Sammamish, whose district includes Paradise, received a flurry of constituent feedback on this issue and called a meeting with Dudgeon to discuss how weekday access can be restored.
Did this meeting ever happen?
Quote:
On Dec. 16, Dudgeon met with The Mountaineers, Cascade Backcountry Alliance, Washington Trails Association, American Alpine Club, Access Fund, American Mountain Guides Association, Northwest Avalanche Center and Winter Wildlands Alliance to explain the predicament.
Will meeting minutes to this meeting be published, or is anyone from NWHikers in attendance?

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altasnob
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PostMon Jan 09, 2023 1:55 pm 
bccarlso wrote:
Will meeting minutes to this meeting be published, or is anyone from NWHikers in attendance?
Go look at page 7 of this thread where I posted Lowell Skoog's notes from that Dec 16 meeting.

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kiliki
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kiliki
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PostMon Jan 09, 2023 2:38 pm 
Quote:
Claims in the article that housing is available, vs previous statements above in this thread that it is not.
From the article (bold mine): For seasonal employees, staff housing is available at the park. The park posted vacancies on three occasions over the past year at USAJobs.gov, but did not receive enough applications to fill all roles. For permanent employees, the high cost of housing has been a deterrent. “We’ve been told by some people who have tentatively accepted a position that they just couldn’t see themselves living in the area and being able to afford a home,” Dudgeon said. *** As mentioned earlier in the thread seasonal housing is shared (sometimes you even have to share a bedroom). I can tell you from firsthand experience it's usually in poor repair and you might have mice running over you at night. (Not to mention you rarely have cell or internet service.) That might fly when you are young and trying to get your career launched but not if you have other career options, or a spouse/family. So it works okay for the college student doing summer interp, but not for career LE/wastewater system operator/plow driver. (Why would a plow driver work with these conditions when they can probably get a job with WSDOT or many other places and live a normal life not in a shared room in a park?). You are going to want your own place. It used to be possible for permanent park employees to rent and sometimes even buy one somewhere in the vicinity of the park but the whole short term rental business has put an end to that.

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kiliki
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PostMon Jan 09, 2023 2:51 pm 
I liked the Times article. I think there are even more obstacles that could have been discussed. The Reasoning and Personality test instituted by the Trump administration with the specific goal of making it harder to hire federal employees for example. It is AWFUL. I wonder how many people have applied for jobs at Rainier but failed it and were never referred to the park. When the superintendent says no one is applying, I wonder if people are, but are flunking the test. I also know people that thought they were doing really bad and so didn't complete it and didn't apply for the job they wanted. Or I wonder if former employees are not able to be hired because they failed. This IS happening at parks. You are never told you failed but you are blacklisted from jobs for a year. Again, you don't know this. I've posted this before, but if you haven't read it, you should. https://www.sltrib.com/news/2021/03/07/trump-mandated-exams-are/

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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Jan 09, 2023 3:13 pm 
When I worked for the ONR I was recruited directly. I never applied for the position although I had applied for an internship a year before. I got a call at home from the head of ONR who asked if I wanted to work at NWC at China Lake and het told me it was near the Sierras. I then asked if I needed a Security Clearance and he said, we already did that. CIA uses the same method, if you apply you will be rejected.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Randito
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PostMon Jan 09, 2023 4:50 pm 
kiliki wrote:
I've posted this before, but if you haven't read it, you should. https://www.sltrib.com/news/2021/03/07/trump-mandated-exams-are/
Sounds a bit like the old "literacy" tests used to gate keep voter registration in rebel states after reconstruction and before the voting rights act passed. Except there were two tests , one that was very easy and another that a PHD in English would be challenged to pass. How you looked determined which test you were "randomly" assigned. Perhaps this current assessment should be required in order to register as a candidate for federal office, that ought to weed out candidates who have been introducing really stupid legislation.

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bullfrog
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PostTue Jan 10, 2023 8:39 am 
In case you missed it, here is the closure FAQ from the park website https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/paradise-winter-access-faq.htm And here is an account of the December meeting from The Mountaineers website https://www.mountaineers.org/blog/winter-access-changes-for-mount-rainier-national-parks-paradise-area

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bccarlso
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PostTue Jan 10, 2023 9:17 am 
Thanks altasnob and bullfrog.

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Riverside Laker
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PostTue Jan 10, 2023 5:23 pm 
Malachai Constant wrote:
asked if I wanted to work at NWC at China Lake
Did you get to see the petroglyphs there?

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