The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 21, 2012
The parks investigation documents: Lynn Black interview

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 38 documents readily accessible to the public within the next few days.

On Feb. 23, 2012, investigators interviewed Lynn Black, who had been an administrative assistant to parks Deputy Director Manuel Lopez before he was demoted. In her seven years on the job at the time of the interview, "I've had seven bosses in seven years," she said.

The interview dissects meetings and conversations about the leave program. At one point Black says that other divisions in parks had heard about the leave program. After Lopez left his deputy position, he called Black to thank her for a favor she did for him. During the conversation, Black recalled, Lopez said, "I feel like I let everybody down."

Click here to read the Lynn Black interview.

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About The State Worker

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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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