USDA Forest Service Office of the Chief Misconduct Investigation Report

John Healy filed this request with the Department of Agriculture of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2014-FS-WO-02680-F
Status
Completed

Communications

From: John Healy

To Whom It May Concern:

Since the nature of this request involves the most senior members of the USDA Forest Service, I’m requesting that the management of this FOIA request be handled by the US Department of Agriculture and not the Forest Service.

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

1) This is a FOIA request related to the USDA Forest Service's Office of the Chief, Office of Communication, Misconduct Investigation that was launched in 2013 and specifically the report that was produced from the investigation.

We all understand the sensitivity of releasing such reports which contain information protected by privacy laws. However, members of USDA’s legal counsel can, I’m sure, find an appropriate balance between privacy and the public’s right to know.

Regarding a similar misconduct matter, here’s a quote from a DOD IG spokeswoman who explained the balancing act between privacy and the public’s right to know. “Because such investigations involve information that may address the privacy concerns of the subject as well as witnesses and persons interviewed, reports of investigations frequently must be redacted extensively prior to release to the public. It has been the long standing practice of our office to release these reports in response to FOIA requests.”

Note the last line that, “It has been the long standing practice of our office to release these reports in response to FOIA requests.” Things should be no different at USDA.

Quote source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/in-the-loop/wp/2013/11/07/smokey-bear-says-only-you-can-prevent-government-officials-misconduct/

2) I’d also appreciate a count of how many US military veterans may have been adversely impacted by working in a hostile work environment under the leadership of the Forest Service’s Chief of Staff (Tim DeCoster) and subordinate senior management staff (the Director of Communications and the Deputy Director of Communications) in the Office of Communications. Regarding the Office of Communications, provide a simple count of:
2a) How many veterans (overall total) are in the Office of Communications
2b) How many service connected disabled veterans are in the Office of Communications
2c) How many wartime service veterans, disabled or not, are in the Office of Communications.
2d) How many veterans have departed the Office of Communications for others staffs, other federal agencies, or have retired during the current Chief of Staff’s tenure and for which he’s been responsible and accountable for the Office of Communications (count these by type, whether a veteran, wartime veteran and/or service connected disabled veteran).

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

John Healy

From: admin@usda.gov

Dear John Healy,

Thank you for contacting the USDA FOIA Service Center with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The temporary tracking number [REQUEST_TEMPCASENUMBER] that was provided during the request submission has been issued FOIA tracking number 2014-OGC-01559-F.

Your FOIA request was received by the USDA FOIA Service Center and will be assigned for processing. Please refer to FOIA tracking number 2014-OGC-01559-F in all communications regarding this request.

Regards,

USDA FOIA Service Center

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 8, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 8, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Department of Agriculture

Dear John Healy,

Your FOIA tracking number was changed from 2014-OGC-01559-F to 2014-FS-WO-02680-F, by the agency. Please note the new FOIA request tracking number to quote in your future correspondence about the request.

Regards,
USDA FOIA Service Center

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 8, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2014-FS-WO-02680-F.

Thank you for your help.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 8, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2014-FS-WO-02680-F.

Thank you for your help.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 8, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2014-FS-WO-02680-F.

Thank you for your help.

From: Prato, Willa M -FS

June 25, 2014
Department of Agriculture
USDA OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
FOIA Requester Service Center
Primary FOIA Officer and Contact, Courtney L. Wilkerson, Esq.
Washington, DC 20250

I am working with my supervisor on getting the records from the offices, but it is taking some time.

WILLA PRATO
Government Information Specialist
USDA Forest Service
Office / Email: 505-944-8131 / wmprato@fs.fed.us
Work Hours: M-F, 7:30a-4:00p (MST-New Mexico)
WO FOIA/PA Service Center: (202) 205-1542/ wo_foia@fs.fed.us
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From: Prato, Willa M -FS

Mr. Healy,

Attached is the USDA Forest Service's response to your Freedom of Information Act request.

WILLA PRATO
Government Information Specialist
USDA Forest Service
Office / Email: 505-944-8131 / wmprato@fs.fed.us<mailto:wmprato@fs.fed.us>
Work Hours: M-F, 7:30a-4:00p (MST-New Mexico)
WO FOIA/PA Service Center: (202) 205-1542/ wo_foia@fs.fed.us<mailto:wo_foia@fs.fed.us>
------------------------------------------------------------------------

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