Saturday, April 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Audit: State does not track costs of Calif. parks

By
From page A4 | February 15, 2013 | 1 Comment

SACRAMENTO — The latest investigation into financial mismanagement at the state Department of Parks and Recreation shows that its administrators do not even know much it costs to operate each of California’s more than 270 parks, yet another symptom of a flawed organization that kept millions of dollars hidden even as it sought to close parks to save money.

Parks officials had no way of knowing how much money the state would have saved by following their own recommendation to close 70 parks last year, according to an audit released Thursday. The proposed closures were the department’s way of helping the state address its budget deficit.

The report by state Auditor Elaine Howle was part of an investigation into $54 million discovered last summer in two special funds and reveals that the hidden cash was but one sign of wider mismanagement.

Department administrators estimated the operating costs for individual parks based on geographic regions using 10-year-old figures. The audit said that even newer estimates provided since the scandal broke were inconsistent.

“Without updated and complete estimates of the costs to operate each park, it is difficult to accurately estimate the amount the department would save by closing a given park, and to measure the impact of partnership agreements that provide funding to help pay parks’ operating costs and offset the effects of budget reductions,” the audit said.

The department oversees more than 270 park properties, including state beaches, state historic parks and off-highway vehicle parks. It has a budget of nearly $574 million in the current fiscal year, money that comes from the state general fund, various bond funds, user fees and off-highway vehicle registration fees.

The actual amount intentionally hidden in the State Parks and Recreation Fund was $20 million, and the remaining $34 million discrepancy was due to differences in the timing of the fund reports to the state finance department and the controller’s office. The amount of money kept hidden had grown as high as $29 million in 2003, the attorney general’s office has reported.

Parks Director Ruth Coleman resigned and a senior department official was fired last summer.

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Maj. Gen. Anthony Jackson as parks director last November. Department spokesman Roy Stearns said Jackson was not available for comment Thursday.

In a written statement, the department said it is developing a new budget that will include specific operating costs for each park.

Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, has been critical of how the department chose the 70 parks that would have been closed. She said Howle’s audit confirms concerns about the closures, which were avoided after Brown allocated some additional money and the state reached agreements with nonprofits, local governments and others to help keep the properties open at least for a few years.

“Obviously things were not managed properly,” Evans said. “It’s been a rough two years trying to investigate what’s going on. I’m happy to see the auditor has uncovered a lot of what I suspected or found out myself. But we have a lot to do to restore the public trust.”

Carolyne Cathey saw the department’s tangled budgeting firsthand when her group, the Mendocino Area Parks Association, tried to put together proposals to keep open eight of the parks scheduled for closure. One complication was overlap within the department.

“Rangers might be spending time at more than one park. They buy a lot of their supplies collectively, and gas for their fleets,” she said. “As a result, it made it difficult to come up with realistic numbers.”

In a report released in January, the state attorney general found that officials at the highest level of the parks department helped keep the millions of dollars secret for more than a decade, a finding reiterated in the report released Thursday by the Bureau of State Audits.

The audit said several budget officers brought their concerns about discrepancies in the fund balances to top officials. But they were told to continue misreporting the amount of money in the special funds because administrators were afraid the department’s budget would be cut if lawmakers and the governor knew the true figure.

The auditor recommended the parks department establish detailed procedures that compare year-end financial statements and ensure that the ending fund balances reported to the governor’s budget and state controller’s budget are the same.

She also recommended that officials determine how much it costs to fully operate its parks and must document its calculations to ensure that they include all costs associated with their operation.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • LWFebruary 15, 2013 - 4:49 pm

    Well... I hope the millions they collected from OHV fees gets used for more trails and riding areas!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Solano unemployment inches downward

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Transplant recipients talk about their best gifts

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Implementing Common Core: A work in progress

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

Fairfield council candidates weigh in on crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Police release name of woman found dead in Fairfield canal

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Spering, Bertani spar over fighting crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Congregation invites public to Easter music, message

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Five homes featured on Symphony Home Tour

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
 
Local woman helps spread Easter joy

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B12 | Gallery

Weather for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B13

 
.

US / World

California farmers to get more water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Teen sentenced in Oakland toddler’s killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

More Latino than white students admitted to UC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
From Clinton to Obama, many parallels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
PG&E to be arraigned in fatal pipeline blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Mom and son who died in San Francisco fire ID’d

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
3 alleged gang members convicted of murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Easter on 4/20, pot holy day; pastors reach out

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
NASA’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Atheist national conference aims at Mormon church

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Man who avoided prison is overwhelmed by support

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Teen suspended for asking Miss America to prom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
White House updating online privacy policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

SpaceX making Easter delivery of station supplies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Sudden movement raises alarm in Wyoming slide area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Some countries get Obama, but want his wife, too

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
In Egypt, a corruption watchdog hit by backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Military scales down, modifies Guam buildup plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Captain of sunken SKorean ferry arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Diplomacy doesn’t move insurgents in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
57-nation OSCE plays key Ukraine monitoring role

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine crisis: The turning points

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
.

Opinion

Cheers, jeers for the week of April 13-19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
Time to fix a law the courts have mucked up

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

Editorial Cartoons for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Here we go again in Sacramento

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Seniors, it’s never too late to do something about your health

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Prince reaches agreement with music label

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

‘The Boondocks’ back for final ‘offensive’ season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

Stratocaster still a favorite at 60

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Sports

Hertl has impressive playoff debut for Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors and Clippers take dislike to playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Big innings lift Mustangs over Indians

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ross, Padres beat Cain and Giants 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

A’s come out swinging to beat Astros 11-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors to start O’Neal for Bogut vs. Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

NBA playoffs looking more wide-open than expected

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Source: Grizzlies’ G Calathes suspended for 20 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Mets trade 1B Ike Davis to Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

TNT’s Sager to miss NBA playoffs due to leukemia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

A’s lefty reliever Doolittle gets 5-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
’40-and-up club’: Ageless Hopkins after more belts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimenez shoots 65 to lead Greater Gwinnett field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Solano scores in ninth for 2-1 BVC baseball win over Yuba

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Choi leads rain-delayed RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
NBA’s Silver wants age limit change, no rush on others

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Judge says American can’t end retiree benefits yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Mazda recalls 109,000 older SUVs for rust problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

5 features an Amazon phone might offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Obituaries

Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Home Seller 04/19/14

Summerwood features 8 new homes in Suisun

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to 4.27 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3

Real estate transactions for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3