Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Volunteer who complained about failure to protect archaeological site dismissed

[Source: KVOA News 4, Tucson] -- Arizona's historic site steward program has dismissed the head steward at an archaeological site north of Tucson for complaining to the media about Pima County's failure to protect it from vandals. Retired Army Col. Bill Ohl was the chief steward at Los Morteros, the site of a Hohokam ball court and associated village near Marana. He was dismissed from the volunteer post two days after a story appeared in the Arizona Daily Star in which he complained about the vandalism and lack of county response. Ohl received a letter from the State Historic Preservation Office telling him to "find other venues for your volunteer efforts."

The June 21 letter from state program coordinator Mary Estes said Ohl violated the site steward's code of ethics by talking to a reporter and writing "confrontational" letters to county administrators. The letter also said Ohl endangered the site by revealing its location. Ohl said he wasn't aware of any rules barring him from talking to the press. He said he was only carrying out the second and third goals of the program, to "increase public awareness" and "discourage site vandalism." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]