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Park Chief's Transfer Routine, Official Says

October 16, 2002|David Kelly | Times Staff Writer

The National Park Service official who removed Tim Setnicka as superintendent of Channel Islands National Park said Tuesday that his decision was based solely on the needs of the agency and not on any controversies kicked up during Setnicka's tenure.

"It would be an overstatement and an exaggeration to say anything else was going on here," said Arthur Eck, deputy regional director in Oakland.

Transferring managers is common in the park service, he said. In the last 12 months, a third of all park managers have been moved.

"The park service believes that making adjustments in leadership from time to time is an effective way to improve leadership of the park. That is not saying anything negative about the last manager."

Eck said Setnicka told him he had been working at the park for a long time, a comment Eck took as an indication he might be ready to move on. Setnicka was named superintendent at Channel Islands in 1997.

Setnicka, 56, who was transferred Thursday, is now in the Oakland office, working on strategic programs.

Channel Islands National Park is made up of five islands off the coast of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Eck acknowledged that Setnicka had a reputation for action and blunt talk that irritated some people. But he said this style helped him "get amazing things done" at the park.

"At this point the park is moving into a planning phase," Eck said. "Tim looks like a person we need in our regional office where getting things done is a more of a challenge."

Setnicka, an Ojai Valley resident, could not be reached for comment.

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