This is not a rant. This is simply an explanation. My husband, the park ranger, still finds permanent status with the fed an elusive business. He's great at being a seasonal park ranger and last summer he moved up a couple of grades, but now this year he's moving back down a couple of grades because of budget. We know a few people who have found perms--either they have moved around a LOT as a single ranger (not so conducive to our marriage) or they have something else going for them (non-caucasian, female, Schedule A illness/disability, Veteran). K has something going for him as well...a wonderful boss at a local high school. Thankfully, she takes him back whenever he shows up in town and she's happy to keep him as long as it takes the Department of Homeland Security to complete his background check.
So these background checks have to happen annually because the summer seasonal rangers separate from service each fall. Each background check costs the NPS around $1800. They don't care that K has had one every single year since 2001. They don't care how many times he's been fingerprinted or interviewed by a federal agent. They don't care that he has a stellar resume with glowing reviews. The rule is that because he's "new" every spring, they have to do another background check.
Another rule is that you can only work 1039 hours in a season. If you surpass that even by 15 minutes, you cannot have rehire status. This has been some kind of a rule for a really long time, but nobody enforced it until like February...just recently. K's big crime is that back in 2003 (I think) he was asked to work a bit longer in the season after the cave closed and that unknowingly tipped him over the 1039 for that one season and now in 2018...he has lost his "rehire status." So, he has had to begin from scratch, so to speak. He did his due diligence, applied for his old job successfully and was offered a position which he accepted. However, this new enforcement of this very old rule that no one realized they were breaking all those years ago, has created a big problem for the NPS. Rangers didn't find out that they couldn't be hired for their old job until after the hiring process was completed (no chance to apply for their old job which they thought they would be automatically rehired to do). Also, they say in the news that this "rule" hasn't been evenly applied throughout the country.
Bottom line is, there are a bunch of seasonal park rangers out there who would love to work, who have done all that's required of them, but they can't work...yet.
So we wait. This would have been the weekend we would have reported to the park. But because the ranger hasn't cleared, we're not allowed in, can't move into government housing, and can't work. We know a ranger from Washington who has worked 47 seasons and he's just hanging out in Seattle until he gets the call that he has cleared. His situation really cracks me up because a couple of summers ago he was coaching track while teaching high school science and asked if he could skip training in order to coach his kids at their state track meet (they got first in state). No, he was NOT allowed to skip training. So he dutifully reported to be trained for a job he had been doing for forty-something years and got photos texted to him of their big win. And now, he's retired, but training starts on Monday and they won't LET him come to training because he hasn't cleared his background check. Oh, the IRONY! We know a married couple from Florida who have been staying in their RV in Blackfoot, Idaho, just waiting to hear that they have clearance so they can buzz into the park and get started. I know a ranger who has his blue tubs stacked up by the front door so that he can load up and roll when he gets word.
I know a supervisor who is opening a visitor center on Friday, just in time for Memorial Day, with only three rangers who have cleared thus far. Maybe word will come soon.
12 minutes ago