NPS Employees Ask: Where Is P. Daniel Smith?

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“When P. Daniel Smith left his job as acting director of the National Park Service on Sept. 30, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt asked him to take a new role leading the agency’s efforts to celebrate the 250th anniversary of U.S. independence on July 4, 2026.

Under the arrangement, his colleagues said, Smith would be allowed to telework from North Carolina as a ‘special assistant to the director,’ receiving a salary estimated at $165,000 a year.

But a group of anonymous NPS employees alleges that Smith has been missing in action, skipping meetings and generating ‘no real work product’ in the past four months while already collecting more than $50,000 in pay.”