00:31:36 - 00:38:29 Effects Of Centralization, Personnel
Effects of centralization, personnel; retirement, Wolfe, Ron; post- retirement employment, contract work, state and private forestry group, auditing biomass grants; Forest Service, perception, changes, conservation, politics, forest fires, funding
Did some people actually move to Albuquerque?
Actually the Lab here, we really lucked out in the fiscal section because the person that was my travel person moved into procurement. The lady that was my accounting analyst, she actually had retired like a year earlier, but she came back under contract to finish that out, which was nice. Then I had an accounts payable person who got a job with the state and private forestry group. So everybody here landed on their feet pretty good, I think, nobody was really hurt that bad here, which was wonderful because that would have been awful. I mean we were thinking about it, a couple of those people could not move, I mean, they just couldn't do it. So they all did---and Linda Richter who was my accounts payable person that went up to TMU is now coming back to our group as a grants and agreements assistants, so that's really great. Actually here at the Lab, locally, we were very, very lucky, very lucky. Other units weren't so lucky, it wasn't a good thing, so, but for me it was. Then for my husband, he retired in September also, but he retired at the end of the month and they were offering a buyout. I couldn't get the buyout because accountants couldn't get a buyout because they needed us down there, they said you're not on this list, you can't get one, so forget it. I thought well, darn. But anyway, he was going to retire in September anyway so they gave him money to do something he was going to do anyway. So it worked out really well for both of us, I mean, you couldn't have asked for things to work out better for us personally. But I did really feel for my friends who didn't come out of it as well.
What year did you officially retire?
I think it was 1996. You know it goes by so fast. No, no, not 1996, 2006. I going to think my god 1996. It was 2006 I think I retired. And so like I said, it was a perfect way to go, I didn't have to train anybody [laughs]. So now I'm under contract for a state and private forestry group, I'm auditing some of their biomass grants, so I come in a couple days a week and do that, which is nice. I must say overall I had a very positive work experience here I think. You know talking here with friends who work in private sector and other places it's like yeah, we've got our issues here too but overall it's a great place to work, it really is. People have been a really friendly group of people.
I know you said in here about the Forest Service perception, I didn't---when I first started here the only thing I knew about really the Forest Service was you know, Smokey The Bear and they had national forests and you could go camping there. I really wasn't---I mean I was sort of aware of the research end because of my aunt and uncle and in knowing that it was here, but it was really pretty neat to see some of the things they've done here over the years to really help the American public I think, you know. I think that research that they did was really well worth it. Of course marrying somebody who is a research engineer I got a little more information than I probably wanted sometimes [laughs]. But anyway, I really think you know they've done a lot and it's been tough the last few years here, I think we kind of lost our direction in some sense and you know, as the wind in the industry changes, the Lab changes and I know we can't do as many things as we used to do, we don't have the employees anymore, and you know it's frustrating we finally get money for a new building that we've been asking for thirty years and now we don't have any people to work in it, it's kind of aah, but that's the federal government and that's how it goes.
But overall and I think as far as---I've really enjoyed working for the Forest Service, I really think you know they always called it the "outfit." It was a very good group of dedicated people who kind of grew up with the Forest Service mentality and stuff and I think that's changed, I think we've gotten---you know the hirings that they do now, I'm not saying this bad, but what it has changed is that people come in and they're just in it for the position, they really don't---people came up through the ranks and they really had that love of the land and the conservation and all that. Some of that's gone because those people just oh I'm just taking this job, I don't care, it's an administrative job or whatever. They don't really understand the core of what the Forest Service was. I think the Forest Service has taken some pretty big hits lately in the last few years about some of their stands and a lot of that unfortunately is political. You the Forest Service, the chief of the Forest Service is not a political appointee, although it basically is right now and I think it does some harm especially to an agency that's conservation based and things like that because you don't always have---you maybe know what's right but you're not allowed to do some of it. So I think the Forest Service image is probably tarnished a bit now, but I always thought it was a good organization to work for, enjoyed it.
Do you foresee that changing in the future?
I don't know, it's so political now you know, with the whole green business now you know maybe people will. Well and just the economic issues, people are going to have to start doing something different and I'm hoping it does change again so that it's kind of back to where it would be. But you know you look at all the fires now and things like that and some of that was practices that the Forest Service did that maybe they shouldn't have done. I just know some of the research they are doing here like the biomass stuff and you know trying to keep the forests clean so that it doesn't burn so much and things. Then you have trouble getting funding because people don't understand. You know the politics of it are always going to be a struggle I think, but I kind of hope that it kind of turns around again and they kind of get some of their respect back. And it's hard you can't even have campgrounds open any more because you don't have anybody to---it's just sad you can't keep them up and you can't get people to come in and do things. So maybe volunteerism or something, maybe some of that will change some of that around I hope.