The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 31, 2012
The parks investigation: Personnel officer recounts leave buyback debate

Person interviewed: Paris Jackson
Job: Assistant personnel officer, Parks and Recreation
Interviewed by: Corrine Murphy, Justice Department deputy attorney general, and Angela Nowicki, Superintendent II, State Parks Law Enforcement Emergency Services
Date of interview: Feb. 16, 2012
Notable quote: "There was like, no we can't do this. Yes, we can. No, just over 640. Okay. We'll do those who are under as well. Then it was like, no, we're not doing it." - Jackson recounting a debate between parks administration services management over whether the division could buy back accumulated employee leave time. (Transcript page 23.)

Investigators say Jackson manipulated the payroll system to obscure the payouts as overtime and backdated some entries to circumvent controls. As a result of her role in the leave buyback program, the department cut her pay 5 percent for one year. Click here to read the Notice of Adverse Action against her.

The California Natural Resources Agency recently released more than 1,000 pages of interviews, adverse action notices and reports that detail a covert employee leave buyback program at the Department of Parks and Recreation during the summer of 2011.

Natural Resources issued the documents online in response to media requests after The Bee broke the story of the leave cash-out program, which spurred a subsequent revelation that parks squirreled away millions of dollars while also threatening to close facilities due to extreme budget pressure.

This post is the next in a series intended to make all of those documents accessible to the public.

Jackson Interview 2012-2-16

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Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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