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Women, minorities and AA in the USFS

Joseph Zorzin redoak at forestmeister.com
Sat Aug 29 03:04:34 EST 1998

Larry Harrell wrote:
> There is a little notice on all USFS job annoucements that says equal
> opportunity for all applicants. I beg to differ. When I apply for jobs, if
> I get passed the women, minorities, veterans, spouses of current employees,

Here in Mass. in the state forestry agency we're starting to see
forester couples. I'm not sure it should be illegal but it does beg the
question about POSSIBLE conflict of interest; not to mention it really
pisses off the consultants. Our state has a veterans preference law that
basicly means if the veteran is the dumbest guy on the planet and you're
Einstein, you lose- even if it was a job for a nuclear scientist. I
don't have a problem with for a WOUNDED vet. It's not so much an issue
any more since Viet Nam was a million years ago. Now it's mostly a
matter of having the right personal connections- whatever civil service
laws actually exist here are a joke. They don't even pretend any more.
Get this, the last "forester test" for our state was in 1970! Yes,
that's not a typo, I said 1970- AND GET THIS- the bozos of the civil
service office gave the wrong test- they gave the test for arborists.
Now does anybody wonder why I have my attitude? <G>

> Peace Corps people, reinstatement eligibles, transfers and the downsized,
> then I have to compete with all the other highly qualified white males.
> District Rangers, who have the final say in hiring people, are evaluated on
> how diverse of a workforce they have. Entry level jobs, such as
> timbermarking and harvest inspecting, as well as the other resource
> protection jobs, are perfect for getting "politically correct" employess on
> board. You don't have to know much to qualify for the basic positions, and
> many non-white and non-male people are hired that way. Higher positions
> that my experience would qualify me for are not offered to the general
> public. My 16 years with the USFS don't count for diddly towards a
> permanent position because I was a "temporary employee". Temps cannot even
> APPLY for most positions within the USFS!!!! I have worked in positions
> that should have been permanent but, the USFS broke rules and abused many
> temps, even publicly admitting it.

What they've done to you and other temps sounds almost criminal. They do
it because they really view you, like my state views consultants, as
nothing more than subhuman serfs, not worthy of being treated with any
dignity at all.

> I know that some women and some minorities can do the arduous and difficult
> jobs well and I have been supervisors for some of them. I would much rather
> work with some spirited and experienced woman than a smelly timber beast of
> a man. However, some women were not made for working in the woods and are a
> liability sometimes. When a woman can't pee behind a tree, she doesn't
> belong in the woods. When a minority can't struggle through neck high thick
> manzanita and other brush, they don't belong either. Same for everyone. Not
> just everyone is well-suited for this kind of work and, if you don't like
> the work, don't apply for the job.

I think what happens is that many of those not physically capable will
view such work as their boot camp, then after a short while they hope to
get elevated to a nice comfortable office job- where they can shuffle
paper for the rest of their lives- and/or be your boss! But to me, if
you don't work in the woods you SHOULDN'T be able to use the honorable
title of Forester. There should be NO office foresters- no such thing-
it's an oxymoron.

> To truly offer equal employment opportunities for all, hide all names,
> genders and such from the selection process. Social Security numbers should
> suffice for that. Unfortunately, that would rule out contacting previous
> employers and that is important in hiring a person. Positions should be
> filled with the best person available. If a woman or minority is truly
> equal, then they SHOULD get the job but, when the USFS compares my 16 years
> of experience with the 2 years of a woman or minority, they rate us the
> same.

My buddy in the Nat. Park system- he's worked a dozen or seasons and
still can't get permanent- for the same reasons- he just mentioned he's
on the verge of going "postal". So if you hear about some Nat. Park
headquarters blowing up, you'll know it's him. He has 9 years of
college, a BS, MS and law degree; hiked the App. Trail, Pacific Crest
Trail, also worked in USFS, also did consulting, has taken 3,000 slides
of outdoor photography, also taught and 48 years old. Then somebody 22
years old with the right affirmative action or connections gets a
permanent position- AND many of these are phony situations, like the guy
who looks like Arnold Swartzenegger who is 1/32 Cherokee put down that
he is a Native American - and got a job because of it- and another guy
who has one arm an eight of an inch shorter than another got the job as
a handicapped person- and he can carry a 60 pound pack for 50 mile
trips! My buddy has countless stories like this.

And, he said, that years ago, when applying for these jobs- what
happened was that the application was sent to another agency- and that
agency did in fact not know anything about you except your
qualifications and hiring he says in those days was very legitimate. But
in recent years he says, that's all be thrown out. Basicly the park boss
hires anyone they want as if it were their own little grocery store-
paying lip service to AA rules, but really hiring who they want. My
friend also happens to be a old time liberal who always supported AA,
but he is pissed about how it is abused. Then to top it off, one of
these 22 year old youngsters, who really is handicapped in a wheel
chair- now with a permanent position, who already owns a house- started
bitching to my buddy about welfare cheats and other people getting
handouts from the government. My buddy chewed him out so bad, he'll
never get within miles of my friend now. The system sucks and must be

> So, if you have a son who wants to work for the USFS, gently but firmly
> steer them away towards another field of endeavor. There is no room in the
> USFS for a man of my heritage and experience.

AA shouldn't be thrown out entirely, but should be reformed. Perhaps the
only people who should get some advantage are WOUNDED VETS. Somebody
like that you can NEVER repay enough. The rest is nonsense, I'm starting
to believe- not that I have any respect for Clarence Thomas- he's down
on it but he wouldn't be where he is without it- he's not smart enough-
but he refuses to admit it. I can have SOME respect for people who got
all the breaks if they admit to it, but denying it is the worse form of

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