Less than three years after being brought on to help end what feds called “a culture of sexual harassment” at Grand Canyon National Park, the park’s first openly gay female superintendent has resigned.
In 2016, Christine Lehnertz became superintendent with aims of creating a more inclusive environment for employees at one of America’s biggest tourist destinations in part by dealing with a backlog of previously unaddressed harassment complaints. Her predecessor, Dave Uberuaga, was reportedly forced to retire “after federal investigators accused him of failing to properly look into and report complaints that male workers were sexually harassing female colleagues,” according to Arizona Public Media.
However, Lehnertz soon found herself battling accusations against her. In October, the inspector general of the Interior Department investigated claims that she issued a wrongful one-day suspension, “bullied or retaliated against male leaders,” and wasted park funds on renovating a park residence. All that sure smacks of a good old-fashioned bitch hunt by a bunch of dudes waving misandry banners.
For example, the report on Lehnertz is full of infractions committed by one of her accusers, a senior-level male manager who failed to submit employee evaluations or carry out a park initiative ordered by Lehnertz because he “didn’t think the park needed it,” according to Outside Online.
Despite that obvious asshattery, Lehnertz says she was happy with the progress employees made during her tenure but acknowledged her personality could be “harsh” at times. She was cleared of wrongdoing in February, and National Park Service deputy director Daniel Smith called the allegations “wholly unfounded.”
After March 31, her last day at Grand Canyon Park, Lehnertz says she will focus on “empowering women, promoting social justice and supporting families challenged by Alzheimer’s.” To top all this shit off, Lehnertz learned of her mother’s death on the day she was told of the surprise investigation.
After being reassigned during the investigation, she was originally set to return to her job in late February in order to prepare for the park’s centennial celebration, but her attorney, Kevin Evans, urged her to resign over concerns for her safety.
“If Chris had her preference, she would be back,” Evans told APM. He hopes authorities will “take appropriate action against people who make baseless and defamatory accusations about Chris and other top managers.”