Special to The Ely Times
Craig Hooover, a 21-year veteran for the Bureau of Land Management who held the title of BLM rangeland management specialist, was terminated in April.
On May 29, Hoover signed an appeal that states the BLM cited two formal reasons for his dismissal, one a delay by Hoover to locate one permittee’s permit, and the other was losing his identification badge for approximately five minutes inside the field office’s breakroom.
Hoover states in his appeal, “The BLM’s analysis of the factors in both the proposed and final termination decisions were substantially inaccurate, but even if they had been fully accurate, they would be completely inaccurate to justify the extreme penalty of my termination after 20 years of service to the BLM.”
The appeal also explains Hoover’s thoughts on the BLM prohibiting personnel proactices by terminating him in an improper retaliation for filing an EEO complaint in 2018 for disclosing illegal grazing and other activities by one of the its permitees.
Hoover who is being represented by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), said in Spring of 2018, Hoover reported to his superiors at BLM that one rancher had stolen BLM fencing material but the BLM refused to enforce against the rancher.
In June 2018, Hoover disclosed cattle trespasssed by the permittee, but the BLM still didn’t enforce against the permittee.
In the late summer of and early fall of 2018, Hoover once again reported that the permittee was being allowed to graze his animals outside of the permit season and others were doing so without valid perits, but the BLM refused to enforce against him from late 2017 to early 2019.
Hoover also stated that he saw this particular permittee grazing sheep, when his permit only covered cattle.
Peter Jenkins, senior counsel for PEER, said, “In our more than 25-year history, we have never seen a termination based on flimsier grounds. It buggers the mind that BLM’s stated rationale was the real reason for this extreme action, strongly suggesting that it is a clumsy official effort to silence a squeaky wheel.”