Coalition Chair Phil Francis issued the following statement to Roll Call regarding Acting Director Vela’s Retirement:

“David Vela is a career employee of the National Park Service.  We wish he and his family well as he transitions from the NPS.  David has always expressed his support and love for the green and gray.  For all that David has accomplished to support and promote the NPS and its mission, we offer him our gratitude.”

In a recent interview with The Hill, Francis went on to say, “I’m a little surprised there’s been a change and concerned too that we no longer have a career National Park Service employee in place to represent the men and women of National Park Service and its values…

Privatizing campgrounds, changing franchise fee arrangements, rolling back [the National Environmental Policy Act] and air quality regulations, no emphasis on global climate change, not filling positions in a timely and permanent way. There is a long list of issues that this administration has created and it all appears to be not so much to make the Park Service better or to protect parks but an effort to politicize the agency and to re-elect the president.

It looks like we’ll have gone the entire length of an administration without having a permanent director,”