The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 23, 2012
Why we posted California parks documents, available here

A few blog users have asked why The State Worker has posted more than 1,000 pages of interviews, adverse action notices and reports released by the California Natural Resources Agency that detail a covert employee leave buyback program at the Department of Parks and Recreation during the summer of 2011.

The agency released the documents after The Bee's Matt Weiser broke the leave credit purchase story, which evolved into a revelation that parks had squirreled away $54 million while also preparing to close facilities and seeking private-sector donations and partnerships.

The impact of the story has spilled over into the political debate over Proposition 30, a tax measure on the November ballot that Gov. Jerry Brown supports.

The documents we've posted over the last month provide a rare window into state's self-policing infrastructure and touches on many issues: cronyism, the impact of retiree turnover, state management, budget management, retired annuitants and the chain of command. Still, "Does anybody even read them?" one person asked in an email.

Yes, they do. Parks is one of the biggest departments in California state government, and feedback we've received indicates that the series is particularly well-read by those employees. Some users have said they read the interviews like an unfolding novel. Many readers, both in and out of government, have responded positively to the series and weighed in with comments and questions that will undoubtedly shape future stories.

Beyond that, posting public records from the investigation helps hold public servants accountable and deters future misdeeds.

This post concludes the series by responding to several users' requests for a single item with links to all the documents. We've organized them in alphabetical order after the jump.

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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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