OVERSIGHT HEARING ON FOREST SERVICE LAW ENFORCEMENT
TUESDAY, JUNE 23, 1998
Mrs. CHENOWETH. What is correct with regards to your salary
Mr. WASLEY. The simple fact is I collect a salary of $110,700
a year as a GS&SHY;15 Step 10 with the Forest Service. As a retiree
and an annuitant under the DC Police and Fire system I was entitled
to a certain percentage of my service time with the United States
Secret Service. I collect that also.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And that pension is $44,600 a year.
Mr. WASLEY. No, it is not.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. What is it?
Mr. WASLEY. I'm not sure that's germane to this hearing.
And I'm not attempting to be flippant or anything else. I believe
this is a private matter, and I don't believe my retirement annuity
is subject to the public record.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You've been with the agency for almost
2 years, yet the
reporting requirements and accountability measures of your department
are almost non-existent, sir. And I would imagine that even the
Secret Service has better accountability than the Forest Service
law enforcement does. How do you account for this lack of accountability?
Mr. WASLEY. Speaking for the law enforcement investigations
division, we are a newrelatively new organization, born
only in 1994. There are certain adjuncts to our organization that
take time to develop. The necessity for true data to be collected
and utilized in staffing and in all decisionmaking process was
not inherent in former Forest Service law enforcement structure.
I'm trying to make it that way now.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. What is the rate of turnover in your work
Mr. WASLEY. Very low.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You mentioned large events as a special
challenge. What can you tell us about the Rainbow Family event
that is planned for early July that is already getting underway
in eastern Arizona?
Mr. WASLEY. As of yesterday, we have 3,000 or so Rainbow
Family folks there on the Apache Sitgraves National Forest. We
have made, to my knowledge, three arrests so far. There have probably
been somewhat less than 100 incident reportsanything from
complaints to injuries, to the traffic accidentsall of the
things you might imagine with that sort of gathering. That's as
of this morning.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. How will this event impact your ability
to meet other law enforcement needs?
Mr. WASLEY. Certainly, we have limited resources. We have
to devote a certain amount of resources to this gathering. There
will be some impact. At this time of the year, I don't think it's
going to be measurable.
Mr. JOSLIN. Madam Chairman, if I could?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yes, Mr. Joslin.
Mr. JOSLIN. Not just the impact of large group gatherings
such as the Rainbows on the Apache-Sitgraves in eastern Arizona
is not only on law enforcement, but also on our regular work force
to deal with those situations. And every year, as you know, they're
somewhere, always on a national forest. And what we have set up
there is an incident command team, the type of command team that
we use for fires and other large events, and the law enforcement
folks are a part of that. But it's all done in cooperation with
the local and State law enforcement agencies. So it's an impact
not only on our law enforcement people, but all the rest of our
people in those areas, plus the other law enforcement agencies
involved. It's a tremendous impact.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. How do you feel that this Rainbow
Family event will impact your overall costs to the program?
Mr. WASLEY. We have budgeted a certain amount for this
type of large group gathering. I don't know the figures off the
top of my head. But we have planned for this.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Let me say that I'm about to draw this
particular hearing to a close. We will have other hearings on
this issue. We will be asking you for more information. But, in
closing, we are going to follow through with more oversight into
this exceedingly important issue. And we'll be working with the
GAO to do a much more detailed investigation into the data collection
and reporting mechanisms within this agency. We will also be doing
a complete analysis of the legal authorities for law enforcement
activities for the agency. We need to understand exactly who has
what authority by law so that we can better determine how best
to coordinate law enforcement activities. And we would appreciate
your submitting all of the data which we requested today in a
timely manner. I would like to ask before I make my closing statement
if there is anything else anyone would like to add for the record.
Mr. WOODWARD. No, thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. Mr. Hill?
Mr. HILL. No, thank you, Madam Chairman
.Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Joslin.
Mr. JOSLIN. One thing that I would add is in connection
with law enforcement national forest system, the area that I work
in, we hold meetings dailyon a daily basis. Mr. Wasley has
at least one member of his staff there are those meetings to keep
us fully informed, and we, in turn, keep his folks fully informed
of activities going in the national forest system so that we are
coordinated in that fashion. And thank you for the opportunity
to be here today.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You're welcome. Mr. Wasley?
Mr. WASLEY. I would just like to comment on our, the officers'
routes to the local community. I just had the good fortune to
travel to Kentucky, where I worked with two law enforcement officers
in the Forest Service who had spent in excess of 25 years in the
very communities where they were born working for the law enforcement
agency of the Forest Service. I gave an award earlier this year
to a person, a law enforcement officer from California who had
spent 31 years in the same community. All I'm doing is mphasizing
the fact that we do have very close tieslocal ties to local
communities in the Forest Service.