The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will move several of its leadership positions back to Washington, D.C., after a controversial Trump-era move to send leadership to Grand Junction, Colo.
An email sent out by BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning that was obtained by The Hill states that the agency will “consolidate” most of its directors in Washington.
Specifically, it states that the director and deputy director of operations have already returned to the district, joining the deputy director for policy and programs. It said that 8 additional leaders including “most assistant directors and deputy assistant directors” will also return to D.C.
The message also said that 30 vacant headquarters senior positions will be based in D.C.
A spokesperson for the Interior Department, which oversees the BLM, confirmed the accuracy of the email that was obtained by The Hill, which specified the fate of the 11 leadership positions and 30 vacancies.
Spokesperson Melissa Schwartz also confirmed that a total of about 100 positions including 60 existing positions and the aforementioned 41 jobs will be based in D.C.
Thirty-six jobs will stay in Grand Junction, and are expected to be complimented by more yet-to-be posted jobs that were referenced in Stone-Manning’s email.
In 2019, the Trump administration announced that the Bureau of Land Management would move its headquarters from Washington D.C., to Grand Junction.
It argued that the move, which was completed last year, would put officials closer to the lands that they managed.
But critics saw it as an attempt to drive out career officials who may not have wanted to move west.
The Biden administration announced in September that it would restore its D.C. headquarters, but also maintain the Colorado office as its “Western headquarters.”
The Stone-Manning email that was obtained by The Hill states that two positions, the national conservation lands and community partnerships assistant director and deputy assistant director, will “anchor” the Colorado office.
She wrote that the office will “anticipate” posting additional positions that “reflect that office’s leadership role in BLM’s outdoor recreation, conservation, clean energy, and scientific missions, as well as outreach and Tribal consultation.”
Her message said that the fate of some positions remains up in the air.
“We have not made decisions on the best locations for some of the additional vacant HQ positions and are also evaluating other positions that were moved and scattered across the West in 2019 and the best way to fulfill the role of the Western Headquarters,” Stone-Manning wrote.
“I will rely on the Employee Advisory Group we are creating to help inform those decisions, as well as to help represent employees’ perspectives as we implement decisions, including considerations related to remote work and telework,” she added.