Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Regional Director Tom Melius Photo by USFWS
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Acting Regional Director Charlie Wooley. Photo by USFWS.

August 2018

Promoting a safe and
harassment-free work environment

Last month we said goodbye to Tom Melius, our regional director for the past 10 years. He has relocated to western Minnesota and is spending more time with his grandchildren after a great career of public service. Last I heard he is kayaking, fishing from his pontoon, and enjoying the retired life.

While Tom left a big pair of shoes to fill as regional director, I’m honored to have had Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan ask me to serve in that role pending the appointment of our next regional director. We’re not sure yet of the timing and what the future holds for that selection, but I am honored to serve. Your efforts working closely with our partners to accomplish our mission every day make this an exciting role for me during an exciting time for our agency.

I was recently able to spend a day with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and 35 of our partners and community leaders in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. These partners shared many unsolicited compliments of the great things we are doing together with Secretary Zinke. I was honored to hear so many warm and heartfelt comments on the work you do. Learn more

Continuing one of our Region’s long-time priorities: Ensuring a Safe Working Environment for All

You have seen emails in recent months and heard from your leadership in staff meetings about our  zero tolerance policy for any form of harassment or discrimination in our workplace. I would like to repeat and reinforce this message - it extends to all Midwest Region employees, interns, contractors, partners as well as our visiting public. There is simply no place for harassment or discrimination in our workplace. We all deserve to work in a supportive environment, free from harassment. Period. In fact, working together in a supportive, collaborative and inclusive way, that leverages our diverse talents and skills is the only way we will successfully accomplish our mission.

If you are experiencing harassment or become aware of harassing behavior towards others, please let someone know. When we hear about violations of this essential policy, we take action. It’s imperative that you speak up, because we can only take action when we know about it. I understand it can be hard to say something, especially if you are experiencing harassment from someone you work with each day. You have several options for reporting harassment. Talk to a colleague, or someone you trust.  You can speak directly with your supervisor, a project leader, anyone on the Regional Directorate Team or call our Harassment Hotline (844-437-6578). You can also contact me directly if you have concerns. Another option is to use the Your Voice tool linked on your computer’s desktop. This is another way to report concerns, anonymously if you choose.

Although I cannot share specifics, I will tell you that the Midwest Region has a solid track record on addressing allegations of harassment and other similar misconduct. These allegations are always thoroughly investigated and met with corrective action when warranted, including removal from employment with the Service. I am committed to continuing that track record, but I need your help. There are no bystanders in our agency's efforts to enforcing our zero tolerance policy. It will take all of us, looking out for each other, to create a community of support and trust. 

I’d also like to remind everyone about the video message that Secretary Zinke shared recently about harassment and discrimination and the Department of the Interior’s policy on prevention and elimination of harassing conduct. Please take some time to watch this video and review our policy. Maintaining a safe and supportive work environment free from harassment and discrimination will always be a priority and I thank each of you for doing your part. You’ll be hearing more about this from me and your supervisor in the future.

Lastly, I’ll mention that we are in what is nationally known as the 101 Critical Days of Summer, days that historically have been riskier than others for accidents and injuries nationwide. I remind each of you to stay vigilant. Please don’t let complacency set in. Keep this a safe and enjoyable summer both at work and in your home life. We value you and all that you do and your safety is paramount to our success.

I hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Inside Region 3. Here are some of the other highlights featured this month:

How do birds keep cool?

The liver of the river

First-ever releases of Poweshiek skipperling

Charlie

 


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Last updated: August 9, 2018