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  1. #1
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    Nov 2001
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    Default LP Hotshots in trouble

    Hello,
    Well as the girl on the fire truck was talked about on the other thread, well the wildland guys have something going now, one of the BEST! hotshot crews has got themselfs in some hot water, Hotshots travel in something called buggys, they have about 9 seats in them and carry a squad and the equipment for that squad. Well some of the guys had some "magazines" and some pictures on the side of the buggy, well a girl had a problem with the pictures. So she got everyone in some trouble. Well really on shot crews its mostly a boys club and really I think that she could not hang with the crew so she had to do something not to look bad, I am sorry but I think that the USFS, BLM, BIA, CDF and all of the depts. should use the same testing for both men and women, because we both do the same job! How many women sawyers are out there? well there are a few but they are mostly from Idaho and Montana.
    I am not slandering women here just saying that when is all of the crap going to end. Even when I was on a shot crew in AZ we had a women file a list of things against the crew, mostly cause she was dating a guy on the crew and they broke up and the whole crew got in trouble for it.

    I guess what I am asking is how many of us have pictures or wait dont confess dont want to get anyone in trouble. How many have "heard" of people having pictures up in weight rooms, in lockers, in buggys, on anything.

    Here is the story that was in the LA Times, and I really think that the reporters are just trying to start some trouble.

    'Hotshots' Are Under Fire for Racy Photos
    Forest Service: Elite firefighting force is accused of sexual harassment for displaying pictures of scantily clad women

    By WILLIAM OVEREND, TIMES STAFF WRITER
    SANTA BARBARA -- The 20 members of the special crew of forest firefighters barracked in the mountains east of here--19 men and one woman--are part of an elite national force known as the Hotshots.

    Based at the Los Prietos Ranger Station in the Los Padres National Forest, they travel the country wherever needed, fighting fires 12 hours a day for weeks at a time and sleeping on the ground. They go as far as Colorado and New Mexico, usually in trucks called "crew buggies."

    The U.S. Forest Service takes a special pride in its Hotshots teams. But now the group in Santa Barbara County is at the center of something the federal agency is not so proud about.

    In the latest in a long series of sexual harassment controversies, the Forest Service is trying to figure out what to do about numerous photos of scantily clad women plastered inside the Santa Barbara team's two crew carriers.

    A complaint was officially lodged with local supervisors Sept. 17 and reported to the state's highest forest officials by the following day. It was backed up with photographic evidence secretly taken, and Forest Service critics saw it as a final proof of what they have been saying for years.

    The top management of the Forest Service has turned a blind eye to sexual harassment for too long, they say. And worse, they charge, the agency has taken a punitive approach to anybody who complains about it.

    Lesa Donnelly worked for the Forest Service for 14 years. But now, under terms of a class-action lawsuit settled last year, she is one of three monitors tracking the agency's approach to sexual harassment claims involving female Forest Service employees in California.

    "The pictures have given us tangible evidence of what we have been saying for years. The tone is set by management, and there are sexual harassment issues all over California," she said.

    "But the Los Padres National Forest has one of the biggest problems, and management simply hasn't done its job. There are Hotshots groups throughout the country, and they do a wonderful job. But the Los Prietos Hotshots are not professional. They have brought shame on the entire Forest Service."

    Almost two weeks after the Sept. 17 complaint about the photos in the Hotshots trucks, California's top Forest Service official, Jack A. Blackwell, announced what many in the agency's management ranks consider a tough response to the incident.

    Repeating earlier statements that the Forest Service has a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment, Blackwell called the photos offensive and added that "this behavior is intolerable."

    Last Monday, Blackwell ordered one-hour sessions for all 8,300 permanent and temporary Forest Service personnel at the 18 national forests in California "to ensure that all employees understand our zero-tolerance policy." About 33% of that group is female.

    According to Donnelly, nobody on the Hotshots crew at Los Prietos had objected to the photos, including the one female member. But Blackwell said that wasn't the issue, and he ordered all agency managers to report back by the end of the week that no inappropriate material existed anywhere.

    Blackwell defined inappropriate material as "pictures of nude or scantily clad (swimsuits or the like) people, magazines and books with such pictures or with sexually explicit information, or inappropriate objects."

    The incident in the Los Padres National Forest wasn't the only blatant problem in recent months, he noted. There were suggestive photos found at the Tahoe National Forest in July, which resulted in the firing of two employees and the resignation of three others. And there has been pornographic e-mail floating around, he said.

    "Jack was pretty upset," said Matt Mathes, spokesman at the Vallejo headquarters of the agency's Region 5, which covers all of California.

    "We are a large and diverse organization, however," he added. "There probably are some people who don't treat it as seriously as Jack does, but our response is you will treat it."

    None of that was very persuasive to Donnelly and other entrenched critics of the Forest Service. She noted that it took almost two weeks for Blackwell to announce his actions, and speculated that both the words and actions were aimed at U.S. District Judge Lowell Jensen in Oakland, who is monitoring the class-action settlement to make sure that all sides act in good faith.

    "He's not doing anything to work with us to get the supervisors to really take this seriously," she said. "At Los Prietos, one supervisor started off by telling everybody she knew they all worked hard and played hard. That wasn't the tone to take. It was a way of winking and saying I really don't care."

    In Donnelly's opinion, the Hotshots at Los Prietos should be disbanded and management officials disciplined or replaced. Along with the secretly taken pictures of the semi-nude photos, there were photographs inside the Hotshots barracks showing stacks of six-packs of beer.

    "They really think they are the hottest thing around, and they act like they are a bunch of frat boys," Donnelly said. "They also have started intimidating people since this controversy started. I am going to ask Forest Service officials in Washington that they be removed for the safety of the people they think are talking about them."

    The Forest Service announced it has hired an outside investigative contractor to determine exactly what happened at Los Prietos and who knew what and when.

    A typical punishment for a first offense in such a case could be a letter of reprimand or a 30-day suspension, one official said.

    One female employee also housed at the Los Prietos Ranger Station, who has filed 17 complaints against the agency for everything from sexual harassment to slander, said she is frightened by the mood of anger toward the whistle-blowers in the case.

    "I am afraid somebody is going to get hurt, and it could be me," said Janine McFarland, an archeologist who says she was removed from a Chumash Indian project because of her complaints. "I'm very concerned for my safety."

    Los Padres Forest supervisor Jeanine Derby minimized that prospect, but said she has notified local law enforcement officers about the concerns. Derby, the chief target of many of Donnelly's complaints, also defended her actions in dealing with sexual harassment issues, saying she takes the latest incident very seriously.

    Members of the Hotshots team approached by The Times declined comment last week, but the group was described by several co-workers as being angry. Along with that, there was some confusion among others about exactly what constitutes inappropriate material.

    Sorry its so long.

    Stay Safe,


  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Jul 2002
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    Moscow, Idaho
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    Default

    smketer,
    I think this is a no-brainer. If you want to look at pictures of naked (or barely dressed) women, you do it in your room. No one has a right to see them in a government workplace. I know people could do it in the past, but those days are gone. There's no reason to put them up in the buggies.

    I did my rookie training for the BLM Smokejumpers in Alaska, where the Bros reluctantly took down their pictures in the weight room once women became jumpers. They did so by doing the same rookie training as the men. My rookie sis Allie Cushman kicked my *** some of the time in training; no one gave her any special treatment, and she would never have thought of asking for it. One reason she's still jumping is because she handled her canopy better than I did, so I'm a broken former jumper, and I think she may be a spotter this year. The BLM jumper program has not collapsed because women are in it, or because the pictures came down.

    I myself looked at such pictures in my room in the barracks.
    Sunil Ramalingam
    Boise Smokejumpers '93-96

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2000
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    md,pa
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    7

    Default

    smketer,
    The facts of the case need to be investigated before you start pointing fingers at people. The female member of the crew had no problem with those pictures, which were actually from a Maxim magazine. The person who complained about the pictures was a girlfriend of a mechanic who was doing work on the buggy at a private garage. She took it upon her self to enter the buggy while it was parked at the garage getting worked on. NOBODY on the crew had a problem with the Maxim magazine. The main question in the case is: Does she have a right to file a complaint when she had no right to enter a government vehicle without permission? What if she fell and broke her leg, does that entitle her to sue the government? I think not. Get your facts straight before you point fingers at a shot crew member.
    Onelick

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    The Big Sky
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    51

    Default

    It has to do with professionalism. With the hundreds of crews available throughout the US we have placed an unwarranted signature to Type 1 Crews. They are supposed to be full time firefighters supported with hard dollars from Congress. Unlike the force account and civilian "Militia" crews it has to do with opportunity for training (skills and fitness) and professional expectations to do a job. They are no better, just different. If we think crew glue is even partly made of pictures of any kind, we are feeding a juvenile and disfunctional profession with fodder that will continue to degrade. It starts with management level leadership that defines and exemplifies the professionalism we should expect from our crews. There is no excuse or reason to support these actions. A profesisonal crew has professinal leadership, then this is a non-issue.
    O'Cionaoit: teine geinim

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