Office of Land Management move to Colorado created vacancies and diversity challenges
November 18 (UPI) – The move of the Bureau of Land Management from Washington, DC to Colorado created a sharp increase in the number of vacancies and prevented the agency from carrying out its duties, according to a federal government monitoring report.
The Trump administration has announced the move of the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees 273 million acres of federally owned land, to Grand Junction, Colorado, in 2019.
The General Accountability Office said on Tuesday that the move had increased the number of vacancies by 169% and led to a dramatic drop in the number of African-American and Asian employees.
“Office staff said the vacancies caused problems in performing their duties,” the GAO report said. “For example, because key decision-makers at head office have left, there have been delays in creating or clarifying directions and policies.”
GAO said the agency does not have a strategic workforce plan that could help resolve issues resulting from vacancies. In September, Home Secretary Deb Haaland said the seat would return to Washington, DC
This decision has been the subject of controversy since its announcement. In September 2020, the Home Office Inspector General’s office discovered that Joseph Balash, the former Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, and William “Perry” Pendley, then Acting Director of BLM , had misled congressional committees about this decision.
The GAO report did not address the decision itself, but pointed out that BLM was not ready to make such a decision.
“Without a strategic workforce plan that meets these needs, BLM has no reasonable assurance that the agency will have the workforce it needs to meet its goals of managing millions of acres. of public land, ”the report said.