The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 12, 2012
The parks investigation: Lopez said he was cashing out leave, encouraged same

Person interviewed: Ted Novack
Job: senior parks and recreation specialist
Interviewed by: Corrine Murphy, Justice Department deputy attorney general, and Angela Nowicki, Superintendent II, State Parks Law Enforcement Emergency Services
Date of interview: Feb. 24, 2012
Notable quote: "The comment was that you should take advantage of this because I'm going to." - Novack recalling encouragement by Manuel Lopez, the deputy director at the center of parks covert leave buyback program, for managers in a meeting to cash out their leave. Novack didn't participate because, he told investigators, he didn't need the money and preferred to take the time off.

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 the 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 the documents readily accessible to the public.
Novack Interview 2012-2-24

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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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