Forest Service chief resigns amidst sexual misconduct charges
Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke resigned Wednesday amidst charges that he had engaged in sexual misconduct.
“In some of these news reports, you may have seen references to my own behavior in the past,” said Tooke, a career officer who was appointed in August, in an email to employees.
“This naturally raised questions about my record and prompted an investigation, which I requested and fully support, and with which I have cooperated. I have been forthright during the review, but I cannot combat every inaccuracy that is reported in the news media.
“What I can control, however, are decisions I make today and the choice of a path for the future that is best for our employees, the Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I must also think about what is best for my family.
“Therefore, I have decided that what is needed right now is for me to step down as Forest Service chief and make way for a new leader that can ensure future success for all employees and the agency.”
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke today tendered his resignation, which I accepted. The Forest Service is filled with dedicated employees from across this nation who devote their lives to promoting healthy and productive forests for the benefit of taxpayers and our environment.”
“In my experience, in order to effectively lead any organization, you must have the moral authority to inspire its members to work toward the goal of continuous improvement,” Perdue said. “Chief Tooke has determined that it is best for the Forest Service, its future, and its employees that he step aside. I thank him for his decades of service to this nation and to the conservation of its natural resources.”