CASE #0102 SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY
PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT
REASON FOR INVESTIGATION:
The San Joaquin County 2002-2003 Civil Grand Jury received a citizen complaint concerning the San Joaquin County's Parks and Recreation Department, stating an unsafe working environment existed due to only having one Park Ranger to patrol fourteen county parks. There was also a concern regarding fee collections since there is only one person collecting the fees with no receipts/verification of the monies collected.
METHOD OF INVESTIGATION:
- Interviewed Craig Ogata, Director, Facilities Management Department.
- Interviewed Don Turko, Director of Human Resources.
- Interviewed Cynthia Clays, Employee Services Manager.
- Interviewed Edward Takach, Director of Labor Relations.
- The San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation Department budget has been reduced from 2 million to 1.9 million dollars for the 2002 fiscal year, therefore, there are no funds available to hire another Park Ranger. The San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation Department is not actively recruiting for another Ranger position, although this position is allocated for in the budget. Due to a hiring freeze within the County, the money allocated for this position is used to hire off-duty Deputy Sheriff's to assist with patrolling the parks on busy holiday weekends.
- San Joaquin County has not actively recruited for a Park Ranger for approximately three years.
- Due to limited staffing, the fee collection is handled by one individual at each park, and receipts are not always issued.
- The complainant's allegation regarding safety has some merit. One single Park Ranger to cover all fourteen parks limits the ability to deal with situations at the many diverse locations. Due to budgetary limitations, nothing can be done at this time. The County of San Joaquin has only one active Park Ranger and has a hiring freeze with no active recruitment to hire another ranger in the future.
- There is a safety issue with fee collection at the drop boxes and park entrances since these are not done in dual custody.
- The SJCCGH recommends that the Parks and Recreation Department actively recruit another Park Ranger, as this position is allocated in the budget.
- The fee collection procedure should be reviewed and updated. This collection should be done in dual custody for safety and security reasons.
- The metal money drop box (iron rangers) located at boat launches and park entrances should be checked daily.
Pursuant to §933.05 of the Penal Code:
The Director of San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation Department and the Board of Supervisors shall comment in writing, to the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court - within (90) days of the publication of this report.
As to each finding in the report, a response indicating one of the following:
- The respondent agrees with the finding.
- The respondent disagrees with the finding with an explanation of the reasons therefore.
As to the recommendation, a response indicating one of the following:
The recommendation has been implemented, with a summary of the action taken.
The recommendation has not yet been implemented, but will be with a time frame for implementation.
The recommendation requires further analysis, with an explanation of the scope of the analysis and a time frame not to exceed 6 months.
The recommendation will not be implemented, with an explanation therefor.