Last updated: August 3, 2016
Today I was given a chance to experience the "behind the scenes" work of the National Park Service. I arrived at the Park Service headquarters in downtown Camp Verde where park administrator Ryan Isaac works and spent the day shadowing him. E-mailing is an essential part of Ryan's job, he has to communicate with countless people inside and outside of the Verde Valley. Most staff who have a concern about a particular situation will come to Ryan for an answer. He is basically in charge of all inner workings of the national monuments that most visitors wouldn't even think of, and yet his job is essential to the function of the national monuments in the Verde Valley. Ryan showed me a website called Concur that park employees use for travel. The website allows the user to find plane flights and hotels and enter the cost of these services into a database. The government will then pay off the fees so that the park employee doesn't have to pay out of pocket for work related travel. Ryan then showed me another website called iQMIS, which is a website that establishes the rates of federal housing. Housing rates change quite often and this site ensures that everyone involved with government housing is getting a fair deal. On this website I was able to see all of the current rates for federal park housing in the Verde Valley.
At lunch time there was a going away party for park service employee Judy, who is moving on to Joshua Tree National Park. Everyone is very sad to see her go, but everyone is also extremely confident that she will be up to great things at Joshua Tree. After the party, I was given the opportunity to sit in on a leadership team meeting. Each Supervisor of each division attended the meeting and each person was given a chance to reveal their ideas/ questions/ concerns. All matters were handled with great care and it was a priority to ensure that everyone had a say in final decisions, which really impressed me. There is a very talented group of people in charge of the monuments in the Verde Valley!
The meeting ended and I went back into the office with Ryan to learn more about administration. Ryan showed me the status of various funds for Montezuma Castle, Tuzigoot, and Montezuma Well. There are some accounts for permanent employees to use and other accounts known as "projects" for term or seasonal employees. I was able to see how each employee enters their hours and what money funds them. I was surprised to learn that employee salary is the biggest expense for the Park Service in the Verde Valley and unfortunately there is not much money left after salary for use in other areas. The Commitment and Control Register is how the park service allocates its funds towards specific uses. I feel tremendously thankful to have been given the chance to learn so much about the "behind the scenes" work of the National Park Service!