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Official tapped to lead National Park Service’s Colorado office is exiting instead

Authors: Associated Press, Colorado Politics - July 26, 2018 - Updated: July 26, 2018

Lizette Richardson of the National Park Service (NPS photo)

The official tapped to take over the National Park Service’s Intermountain regional office in Lakewood is retiring instead of accepting the reassignment.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports that Lizette Richardson, superintendent of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, was recently asked to lead the regional office, which oversees national parks, monuments and other federal sites in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and several other mountain-west states.

But Richardson — like the regional director she was to replace, Sue Masica — rejected a transfer ordered by Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department, which oversees the Park Service, and will instead end a long career of working for the federal government.

Lake Mead spokeswoman Christie Vanover says Richardson “notified her employees (Tuesday) that she plans to retire.”

Before her Lake Mead assignment in 2015, Richardson was Denver-area-based chief of the Park Service’s Construction Program Management Division.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide broke the story Wednesday about Masica’s retirement, prompted by a rejected reassignment to the Park Service’s Midwestern regional office in Omaha, Nebraska.

An April report from the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of the Interior said some Park Service executives felt that the Trump administration was reassigning them to new positions for “political or punitive” reasons.

In June, the superintendent of Yellowstone National Park — Dan Wenk, a 43-year Park Service veteran — announced plans to retire early rather than accept a reassignment to Washington. “I’m no longer wanted at Yellowstone National Park,” he told Yellowstone Public Radio.

Associated Press

Associated Press

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics, formerly The Colorado Statesman, is the state's premier political news publication, renowned for its award-winning journalism. The publication is also the oldest political news outlet in the state, in continuous publication since 1898. Colorado Politics covers the stories behind the stories in Colorado's state Capitol and across the Centennial State, focusing on politics, public policy and elections with in-depth reporting on the people behind the campaigns — from grassroots supporters to campaign managers and the candidates and issues themselves.