Dec. 5, 2002 – An internal V.I. National Park personnel matter will hit the streets of St. John on Sunday when some residents gather at noon for a march to protest the transfer of longtime Deputy Superintendent Judy Shafer, against her will, to the National Park Service Southeast Region headquarters in Atlanta.
Shafer is slated to become chief of the Cultural Resources Division for the Southeast Region.
"It's the same grade" as her St. John position, Park Superintendent John King said on Thursday. He said Shafer is qualified for the job because she holds a master's degree in archeology.
While the community has been abuzz about a dispute between Shafer and other park officials for several months, she declined to comment on the matter Thursday. Reportedly at issue is her having turned in a former park volunteer after she saw him viewing pornographic material on the Internet in his park office.
King wouldn't comment, either, other than to say that Shafer's transfer to Atlanta was effective Nov. 12.
Shafer, who is on medical leave with a broken ankle, is still staying at her park-owned house on St. John. But King said Shafer's belongings have been moved out of what had been her office, because she is no longer an employee.
A federal employee for nearly 30 years, Shafer has spent 13 of them at the park on St. John — from 1986 through 1994 and from 1997 until this year.
St. John resident Charlie Benbow, whose telephone number appears on a flyer announcing Sunday's march, said he will come out on Sunday to support Shafer. "They're basically trying to get rid of her," he said.
The march is to begin at the park playground adjacent to the ballfield.
The flyer is titled "Save the Environment. Save Judy Shafer!" It calls Shafer the "best advocate for the environment" and says her transfer against her will is a great injustice.
"We cannot afford to lose Judy. She has consistently fought for the birds, the fish, the reefs, the plants, the animals and the people of St. John," the flyer reads.
Shafer has retained a law firm on the mainland to represent her in her dispute with the park. The office could not be reached for comment on Thursday because of the East Coast snow storm.
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