National Park Service acting director Paul Daniel Smith apologized to employees in an email Friday for behaving “in an inappropriate manner in a public hallway” but defended his actions from allegations of harassment.
Smith grabbed his genitals and made a gesture in front of other employees in a NPS hallway, according to a Washington Post report in March. In his email to employees, obtained by CNN, Smith said he was recounting an experience in Alaska during a conversation in the hallway, and “I recognize that the story was inappropriate for the workplace.”
An employee reported it to the inspector general, which launched an investigation. The results are expected to be made public “at the end of June,” according to Nancy DiPaolo, a spokeswoman for the Interior Department inspector General.
Smith apologized to the employee who witnessed it in his email and said, “I am very sorry for my mistake in telling this story and any discomfort it clearly caused.”
“As a leader, I must hold myself to the highest standard of behavior in the workplace. I take my responsibility to create and maintain a respectful, collegial work environment very seriously,” he wrote. “I promise to do better.”
Smith had retired in 2014 after 31 years at the Park Service, but came back in January at Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s request to serve as acting director. In 2006, Smith was reprimanded and alleged to have “inappropriately used his position” to allow Redskins owner Dan Snyder cut down more than 130 trees on federally protected lands so Snyder could have a good view of the Potomac from his mansion.