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DEAR VISITORS February 3, 2011

Filed under: Fleecing Park Taxpayers — Fleecing Park Tax Payers @ 6:02 pm

Fleecing Park Taxpayers

Dear Visitors:

A brief preamble is in order. As with all taxpayers we have an obligation to carry our fair share of responsibility. In exchange, we hopefully receive value for our monies. In most cases this is what happens. Unfortunately, there are situations where this is far from true.

Such a situation now involves the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District (MPRPD). We supported the district request for a taxpayer assessment district in 2004 believing our tax monies would be put to responsible use, however an increasing number of concerned citizens feel that there have been continuing and serious shortcomings in many aspects of the operation of MPRPD. While the district has an exceptional staff and great overall potential, there have also been countless questionable actions over the past several years which have cast a pale on this organization, costing it valuable credibility, and for taxpayers, an irresponsible drain of our monies. We believe it to rank among significant taxpayer abuse cases in California.

We feel that the responsibility for the poor perception of this organization falls solidly on the publicly elected Board of Directors, plus the recently retired general manager. The continuing missteps, questionable decisions and failings of transparency and integrity have reached an unbearable level. It is felt by many that there have been grave violations of public trust, ranging from fiscal irresponsibility, disregard for public input, and lack of responsible leadership that must now be challenged by the public whose best interests this public board was pledged to protect. Their irresponsible and costly errors in judgment are already being seen as carrying on long into the future.

We wish to present to you, the public, the facts we have encountered when researching this matter. We will be presenting facts that have been researched and determined to be correct as best as can be determined, given the lack of transparency on the part of the district.

We, the undersigned, feel that given the actions of this board the only acceptable solution is for the district to provide for immediate elections for all board seats, with the exception of the newly seated director.

We welcome you to form your own opinions, and wish to obtain your sincere feedback on these matters. You may agree or disagree with the findings. Either way, we ask you to offer your comments. After all, for those of us within the district boundaries, these are our tax dollars. We feel strongly that immediate action must be taken.  At the bottom of these several pages will be a survey, which we ask you to complete so as to share your thoughts.

Thank you for your interest, and for your input. Your voice and feedback are most important. Please also feel welcome to forward this website to your friends and neighbors.

A sampling of parties who wish to reclaim park district common sense:


Peter Baird       

Seaside Taxpayers Association

Ed Nobis


John Haussermann 

Michael Tancredi


Robyn Buechel

Steven Ficklin


Susan Ficklin


Frank Kocher   

Warren Masten

Charles Hawley   


Doug Forzani


Lew Aytes     


Kathryn Aytes


Joseph Hertlein

Stella Presthus

Kevin Kenoyer 


Phillip Strutner

Douglas Lee      

Ryan Edwards


Lawrence Samuels     

Chris Keehn


 Rich Calcagno











Table of Contents

Filed under: Fleecing Park Taxpayers — Fleecing Park Tax Payers @ 6:02 pm

–  Peter Baird Herald Guest Editorial, December 6, 2010 

–  Basic District Facts

–  Complete General Manager Compensation Package

–  Major Public Concerns, (1-14)

–  Summary

–  Remedies

–  A Survey For Readers To Take



Filed under: Fleecing Park Taxpayers — Fleecing Park Tax Payers @ 6:01 pm

(The below editorial ran in the December 6, 2010 Monterey County Herald Newspaper)

For those of you whose blood pressure rose when reading about the extraordinarily high salary of Joseph Donofrio, general manager of The Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District (MPRPD), you may be interested to know that the Park Board hasn’t finished giving away your tax dollars.

To refresh our memories, Mr. Donofrio, with a salary & benefits package of $375,907 is currently the highest paid local government executive. By way of comparison, Dr. Lew Bauman, Monterey County Administrator has a salary of $230,298 to oversee a budget of apx.1Billion dollars and 4,600 employees. Mr. Donofrio receives his 61% higher salary for overseeing 16 employees.

When more fully examined, the most significant aspect of the board’s continuing generosity to this employee interestingly enough is not the present salary, but rather the cumulative future impacts to taxpayers. Retiring now relatively young at 58 years old, and with the understanding that he will indeed receive in retirement this full salary based on his years of service in the public sector plus cost of living increases, we discover the true cost of this plan. Assuming Mr. Donofrio lives to 85 years old, his salary at that age will be $555,000/year, excluding any benefits inclusion. More significantly, we will have paid this one man over $10,700,000, not including an ongoing benefits package. Without his lifting a finger. For having run a modest department of 16 employees.

Looking around in our local economy, is it just me or are there others who know people that are well qualified but can’t find work? Or may be resigned to accept a low paying job just to put food on the table. People who may be losing their home to foreclosure as a result. Folks who need to rely on others just to get by. In case we’ve forgotten, Monterey County is currently experiencing 12% unemployment. These are good people caught in a bad situation, and they are all around us. How do we explain these excesses to them even if this individual is somehow worth this salary?

There are many unanswered questions for the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District for decisions which have taken place since Donofrio’s arrival.

Many public agencies allow employees to accrue 2% of their salary for every year worked, and can retire at 60. What compelled the board during Donofrio’s tenure to increase the formula for this district to allow a 2.75% credit, and to decrease the minimum retirement age to 55 years, thereby hastening his ability to retire, and with more money?

Why during his employment was his salary increased annually at a rate of between 3-5%, even during years when the CPI was below that rate, especially when his salary was already clearly in excess for his duties and responsibilities?

How many local governments pay one employee a salary that is 146% higher than the next highest employee? What impact do we suppose that might have on organizational morale?

Who convinced the board to have the district pay 100% of his 457 deferred comp plan, a benefit afforded to no other employee and which has a direct cash benefit?

The saddest news is what took place at the latest board meeting. While it was announced that Mr. Donofrio was retiring, what wasn’t announced was the final agreement between he and this board. Instead of holding off on his retirement until a replacement could be found, he retired and formed a company, Administrative Management Services, whereby he proposed to act as a full time consultant to the district. The district readily accepted this arrangement, agreeing to pay Mr. Donofrio a salary equal to $130 per hour. Do the math and you’ll find this equals $270,000 annually. On top of his retirement pay of $249,700. Wouldn’t we all be fortunate to collect $520,000 PLUS benefits of taxpayer money the first year of our retirement? As if that weren’t enough, within the original contract he drafted and submitted to the board, he had the temerity to originally ask for an even higher hourly salary than the $130.

The board would no doubt point out that the contract is for 6 months, which it is, but that’s hardly the point. Aside from the question of what’s to keep them from extending it is how could this be allowed to happen in the first place? Was the public outcry over this salary issue not heard by the board the first time around? Could they somehow believe this doubling of income was appropriate? Were there not other choices? Was anyone awake?

Whatever happened to the concept of Best Practices? Why couldn’t this board have solicited the input of the public somewhere along the way? What happened to the courtesy of accountability and elected public servants asking their constituents what they think? Do they even care? Instead of a glossy annual magazine, how about having a community questionnaire asking how are we doing? Instead of defending the status quo at a recent board meeting, why not take up the great suggestion of a member of the public who recommended giving a confidential survey to their staff asking how they feel about things, including management, and to solicit their suggestions. MPC has done this for years. I know, as I receive them. When that happens I am infinitely more assured about transparency of government as opposed to an organization circling the wagon’s when asked for information.

I would submit that if the board wished to heap such inflated pay and gold plated benefits onto Mr. Donofrio’s plate, at the very least they should consider the cupboard dry for anything else. Evidently that’s not the case, since 80% of the board accepts the elective fee for attending board meetings. Perhaps they should serve on the board of a non-profit such as Meals on Wheels or the Kinship Center and see how much those hard working board members are earning for attending meetings.

In case we’ve forgotten, a majority of Americans must rely on nothing more than Social Security, for which there will be no cost of living increase this year. If Mr. Donofrio receives only a basic 3% increase in his first year of retirement salary that would equal $7,500. How does that set with most Americans who will receive zero increase? The inequality is beyond reason. Let’s call this entire salary and benefits package for what it is; Its beyond scandalous; it borders on plunder.

Enough is enough. Immediate specific action is warranted, and I hope you agree as well. I am asking the following:

1.) I would ask that the district form a public committee to offer input into the selection of the new director, including the salary & benefits package. We can’t afford more surprises, and the last thing we taxpayers deserve is another Manager with a preoccupation of feathering his nest. In addition, I propose that such a committee also seek ways to make this agency much more transparent.

2.) I ask that the board immediately terminate the consulting contract now in place with Mr. Donofrio.It is excessive, unwarranted and a waste of taxpayer dollars. The first priority of this board is to serve the public, not Mr. Donofrio.

3.) I ask every board member to decline payment for acting as our representatives.

4.) Finally, even though this board has certainly done some good things during its tenure, and I sure feel they have been well intentioned in their efforts, the fiscally irresponsible decisions they have made regarding this employee have now overshadowed any beneficial work. The impact of their actions don’t vanish with his retirement. They will continue into the foreseeable future, and become more pronounced with each passing year due to COLA increases. This board has earned a vote of no confidence. I feel the best action they could take would be to step down and allow others to take over. I implore them to resist the urge to find ways to defend this salary and benefits package and accept that it was not their best decision. Besides, these decisions are indefensible. A fresh start would be healthy for the district, and a far better solution than another Grand Jury investigation which in 1998 concluded that the district should be disbanded and taken over by the Monterey County Parks Department.

If you share these concerns and feel enough is enough, send an email along to the MPRPD Board Chair at mgasba@montereybay.com, along with a copy to Supervisor Dave Potter at  district5@co.monterey.ca.us, and attend the next MPRPD board meeting..

Peter A. Baird is a local business owner, has served as chair of the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce & MPC Bond Oversight Committee, and has a degree in Parks & Resources


December 10, 2010 Carmel Pine Cone Article Regarding Board Response


Basic Facts of the MPRPD January 27, 2011

Filed under: Fleecing Park Taxpayers — Fleecing Park Tax Payers @ 11:48 pm

The Monterey Regional Park District is a Public Agency which was formed by Monterey County voters in 1972 to specifically protect open space and provide recreational opportunities for residents in the Monterey Peninsula.

The Park District covers apx. 500 square miles, including the seven incorporated cities on the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel Valley and Big Sur.

In May 2004 the Park District placed on the ballot under the authority of Proposition 218 a request for an assessment district, for which 55.37% of the ballots were in favor. The assessment district allows MPRPD to individually tax every property in the district.  In addition there is a provision for an annual increase, not to exceed 3% per annum.
The benefits of the assessment district, as outlined in the Public Resources Code Section 5539.3 include to provide increased park and recreational opportunities in the densely populated and heavily urbanized areas of the regional district are vital to the health and well being of all residents in the regional district, and providing those opportunities is a high priority.

Present Board Members:

Ward 1 (Marina & Northern Ft. Ord): Dr. Jennifer Lagier Fellguth
Email: jfellguth@sbcglobal.net

Ward 2, Seaside, Sand City): Ben Post
Email: ben@post-tech.net

Ward 3 (Monterey, Del Rey Oaks, Southern Ft. Ord): Michael Adamson
Email: Adamsonmgasba@montereybay.com

Ward 4 (Pacific Grove, New Monterey, Northern Pebble Beach): Kathleen Lee
Email: kleemoco@gmail.com

Ward 5, Carmel, Carmel Valley, Big Sur, Southern Pebble Beach): John Dalessio
Email: jrmaam@gmail.com


General Manager Compensation Package

Filed under: Fleecing Park Taxpayers — Fleecing Park Tax Payers @ 11:47 pm

The Board’s General Manager ran a 16 member organization with a modest $5.8M annual budget. How well do your job benefits and salary compare to his contract, outlined below?

Donofrio’s Contract: Available to be viewed by the public in its entirety for the first time:  Donofrio’s Contract

What has caused taxpayers to characterize this contract as Monterey County’s poster child for fiscal irresponsibility? Let’s review the contract that district board members Dainton, Dalession Felguth Adamson and Post gave Donofrio::

$375,907/year, as follows:


$249,000 /year, broken out as follows

District pays annual cost of living increases which annually equaled 3-4%

  • District pays annually a four (4%) merit increase

  • District pays all business expenses, travel lodging & meals

Health & Welfare:

$125,935/year, broken out as follows:

Paid holidays

  • District pays 100% of cost of Medical Benefits Package

  • District pays 100% of cost of Dental, Vision and Long Term Disability

  • District pays 100% of cost of a life insurance policy (above 3 paid through retirement)

  • District pays 100% of Donofrio’s Monthly Contribution to Public Employee’s Retirement System (PERS)

  • District will allow employee to retire at age 55 with a service credit of 2.7%/year

  • District allowed, for each year of service before working at the district, a retroactive credit of 1.5 years for every one year of service credits earned at MPRPD

  • District pays 100% of the cost of Workers Comp and Social Security (even employees portion)

  • District pays 100% of the annual contribution to a “457” Deferred Compensation plan. On retirement it is believed the value of this plan is over $260,000, payable in cash

  • District pays for 22 days of vacation a year, with opportunity to convert a portion to cash

Management Incentive Pay:

  • District pays seven (7) days of management incentive pay per year

  • District pay for 3 sick days per month, for an annual total of 36 sick days, transferable if unused toward service credits

  • Annual bonuses to be applied toward buying additional PERS retirement service credits. This bonus amount last paid was approximately $33,000/year

Summary of Compensation Package

General Manager Compensation


FY 2010-11 Budget


















Health Insurance



Dental Insurance



Vision Insurance



Disability/Life Insurance






Deferred Comp./Vacation Pay











What are other agency boards paying their Directors or General Managers?

Salary Comparison:

To illustrate the extent of the incomprehensibly high salary, if the Monterey County Administrator were to be paid an equivalent salary based on the county’s total annual budget, his salary would be $60,000,000/year. If assessed per the amount of employees, his salary would be $107,000,000/year.




Major Public Concerns

Filed under: Fleecing Park Taxpayers — Fleecing Park Tax Payers @ 11:44 pm

1 of 14. The Park District Is Not Funding Requisite Future Retirement Health Benefits


As park district employees retire, the park district is obligated to pay their post retirement benefits package. These are not monies collected from CalPers but rather are funds directly paid by the district with monies earmarked for this purpose. Public districts set aside monies each year in order to cover these upcoming obligations as they come due. In this way, if there are several retirements during a fiscal year, the monies to pay those obligations will be immediately available. In the case of MPRPD, who pride themselves on being fiscally responsible, why has this not been the case?

For the past fiscal year (f/y) ending June 30, 2010 the district’s accounting firm Hayashi & Wayland point out (page 15, basic financial statements) Financial Statement Y/E June 30, 2010 in an entry titled Net OPEB Liabilities, that the district has placed no monies into an account to pay such future liabilities. They note that $287,801 would be necessary each year to set aside in order to keep up with a schedule calculated by district accountants. Further, the district is in arrears in payment of this obligation based on actuarial information involving estimates and assumptions about the future, which takes into account factors such as number of employees, their assumed retirement age, salary increases and health cost increases, among others. What is the present total amount of such unfunded obligation, straight out of the page of the accounts statement? $1,717,950. Thus, while the board was busy giving Joseph Donofrio regular Cost of Living Increases of 3-4% yearly, plus performance bonuses that were far beyond comparable agency salaries, shouldn’t they have had the foresight to place at least some monies into the retirement fund? Did they feel his excessive pay was a higher priority than looking out for the future of their other employees? What justification does the board make with regards to heaping such liabilities into the future? Shouldn’t a fiscally responsible board spend less time figuring out more ways to give a favored employee excess salary, and more time on making sound financial decisions? Or did they feel this should be someone else’s future concern?

Without this money set aside each year the only way a district could meet these obligations is to move monies from another source. This assumes those monies would be available at that time. Many districts, particularly smaller ones are always more subject to external impacts involving funding sources. Thus, even though solvent, the immediate need for monies, particularly for items which have been budgeted yet remain unfunded could have catastrophic results. In the most extreme circumstance this could lead to having very few options other than bankruptcy. It may be no different than having two children who plan to go to college, but not setting aside any monies, essentially stating we will find a way to make that payment when it is due.

A further bit of background is in order so as to more fully understand this subject. As noted in the financials, most particularly on page 20 of the Financial Statement for the year ended June 30, 2010, the district is under the legal obligation to comply with GASB. In 2004, the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued Statement No. 45, which established standards for measurement, recognition, and financial statement display of other post employment benefits (OPEB). OPEB can include, but not be limited to: Medical, dental, vision, and life insurance. OPEB does not include pensions. According to GASB, these benefits are a form of deferred compensation and must be accrued and recognized as a liability in the financial statements.

GASB was instituted in July 2004 because of the growing concern over the magnitude of government employer obligations for post-employment benefits, and to provide for better transparency in public financial reporting, which had been lacking. Prior to GASB, the magnitude of OPEB liabilities went largely unrealized because most governments did not calculate their long term accrued costs for the benefits promised to employees.

GASB 45 requires disclosures of OPEB liabilities and allows agencies two (2) principal options; Establish an irrevocable trust/reserve account to accumulate funds for future retirees, or to wait and fund these benefits at the time they are due, commonly described as a `pay-as-you-go basis’. MPRPD has elected the latter, to not fund these obligations until they are due. While the choice is a district’s legal prerogative, not funding these obligations regularly has been shown to be short sighted and unwise. It runs counter not only to common sense, but to recommendations from industry experts. We note the following:

·        As the baby boomer generation enters retirement, medical costs are expected to continue to rise faster than inflation. As a result, the  unfunded accrued liabilities are expected to skyrocket. Putting off the payment of these known obligations threatens future financial stability.

  • The state’s ever worsening financial crisis is causing Sacramento to claim more revenues from special districts for themselves. This is already being evidenced by the state’s recently unveiled proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies, which would shift such revenue ($1.7 billion) from these agencies to help pay for schools, police and other local services. Such actions make the prospect of continuing to receive state monies for any purpose more suspect. Any monies taken by the state, particularly from the state’s reallocation of collected property tax revenues would require such shortfalls to be made up by districts. An example of the district’s vulnerability could come from anywhere, including the monies which come to the district via State of California Parks & Recreation Proposition 117 Funds which are needed to annually pay $1,500,000 to the Big Sur Land Trust for the acquisition of the middle portion of the Palo Corona Ranch. Such an unexpected funding void, coupled with the ongoing need to fund services would be disastrous, and is easily  avoidable.

  • One of the dangers in continuing to accrue unfunded liabilities is the impact on bond ratings, as bond agencies review how agencies deal with OPEB liabilities. The bond rating firms have been outspoken in their criticism that not funding OPEB obligations casts an agency in a bad light. Specific directives on this subject are readily available, as detailed below:

–    Fitch Ratings

“….while not debt, pension and OPEB accumulated costs are legal or practical contractual commitments that form a portion of fixed costs. Long term deferral of such obligations is a sign of fiscal distress that will be reflected in ratings.”

–    Moody’s

“…state or local government’s effectiveness and initiative in OPEB liability management probably will influence our overall assessment of the governments management strength.”

–          Standard & Poor’s

“…. an increasing net OPEB obligation would be a negative rating factor, just as an increasing net pension obligation would be…Close attention will be paid to the newly quantified OPEB unfunded liabilities, given their expected magnitude, and to employers’ strategies for managing them.


Governor’s State Panel:

In 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger established, by executive order, S-25-06, the Public Employee Post Employment Benefits Commission to address unfunded post employment benefits.

A blue ribbon panel of leading industry experts was asked to study the issue and to develop recommended action. After consulting and hearing testimony from concerned citizens, policy experts and government officials their report, titled Funding Pensions and Retiree Health Care For Public Employees was issued. Since its publication it has been regarded as perhaps the most definitive study of this issue. The full report can be found at http://www.pebc.ca.gov/.


From its Chairman:“The results of this survey should serve as a wake-up call about the importance of planning ahead and implementing prudent fiscal policies now. For the good of the state’s fiscal health and the well being of our workforce, action must be taken.Chairman Gerry Parsky


Their final report contained 34 recommendations, 3 of which are excerpted below:

Recommendation #1

Public Agencies providing OPEB benefits should adopt prefunding as their policy. As a policy, prefunding OPEB benefits is just as important as prefunding pensions. The ultimate goal of a prefunding policy should be to achieve full funding. (As heretofore noted, MPRPD does not believe it necessary or appropriate to set aside such monies. Such thinking risks future financial upheaval).

 Recommendation #2

Each public employer should identify its OPEB liability, adopt a prefunding plan, and make it public. If a public employer does not establish a prefunding plan, it shall clearly identify an alternate approach for addressing its OPEB liabilities, and make public its reason for not prefunding. (How valid are the district’s reasons for not prefunding these benefits as recommended? We don’t know, since they have not made public their reasons for not prefunding).

Recommendation #30

Boards overseeing pensions and/or OPEB trust funds should meet or exceed the transparency governance requirements they place on companies or on investment managers of plan assets. (This district has shown no transparency on this matter, and countless other issues. Other districts have had study sessions which have solicited input from the public, or formed committees to study the options and provide recommendations. What steps has MPRPD taken? None. They have completely ignored this issue for years).


California State Controller John Chiang’s comments on the matter: “Even as we try to claw our way out of the recession and provide needed cash to the State’s coffers, we cannot ignore the promise that we made to pay health and dental benefits for current state employees and retirees,” Chiang said. “As I have since 2007, I urge lawmakers to reduce the impact on future generations by putting additional dollars into the annual payments so that we can invest those funds, grow that money and tackle our obligation in a responsible manner”. -California State Controller John Chiang.


Other agencies viewpoints:

Center For State and Local Government Excellence, September 2009, in an issue brief… `the pay as you go approach is being rendered an unattractive and unsustainable option’.


The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) recommends that.. ‘the financing of postemployment benefits as they are earned (i.e., prefunding v. pay-as-you-go funding) offers significant advantages from the vantage point of equity and sustainability. Just as important, the earnings on the resources thus accumulated will lower the amount that ultimately must be budgeted by the employer’.


How significant has this issue become for MPRPD?:

At present, MPRPD already has an unfunded liability in the amount of $1,717,950. If they had been prefunding their retirement program this would be the amount of money that would be required up to now in order to meets its obligations. Put into a different perspective, this unfunded liability amount now has risen to represent (as detailed in the district’s own financial report) 125.34% of the entire district payroll. In other words, to cover this un-provided for benefits liability, it would today require a payment which is equal to 1.25 years worth of the present budget for salaries. Why has this board allowed this to happen?

How have some other agencies addressed the need to have available these monies, and to what level have they prefunded their plans? A sampling detail how much they have funded these liabilities:

  • City of Fresno Employees retirement system (138%)

  • City of Fresno Fire & Police (125%)

  • San Francisco Employees retirement system (109%)

  • University of California retirement system (104%)

  • Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District (0%)


The implications to this district of not funding the district’s plan are far reaching:

  • If the monies are not available at the time they are needed, the district could be forced to curtail or suspend benefits to employees. Will they be seen to have bargained in good faith with their employees?

  • The district may be forced to look to the taxpayers for a bail out, creating a possible need to increase taxes when the problem could have instead been remedied by today setting aside monies which the above agencies have done.

  • Even if the board chose to do so immediately, the $1,700,000 already unfunded liability would still require some provision for funding.

  • Finally, and in the most extreme case, if the district becomes insolvent it runs the risk of having to file for bankruptcy.


There are extremely convincing reasons to immediately compel the district’s board to reverse their present ill-advised and short sighted approach:

  • The financial rating of the district would not suffer.

  • Managing the obligation today will prevent it from growing out of control, at a higher cost to taxpayers

  • No programs or services would have to be cut to provide for the unfunded liabilities if they are addressed today

  • If the obligation is not managed it will grow out of control

  • The district would be seen to have done everything possible to ensure its employees receive everything they have been promised, and there will be no future need to cap or curtail or eliminate benefits to current workers.

  • Under advance funding, as earnings increase the unfunded actuarial accrued liability (UAAL) decreases over the long term. With time, advance funding creates a critical mass of dollars, allowing for a higher percentage of the benefits to be paid from investment earnings. The fund could actually reach a point where it is fully sustaining and would require no additional funding.

  • The public would have full confidence the board is making the most financially prudent decisions to protect the funds that have been entrusted to them.


Comments from board on the subject: For the most part the board has been totally silent on the issue, content to make only the basic legally required notation on this subject in the financial statement. The only recent public comment on the subject was made by one of the board members when answering a question from the press: Board Chairman Michael Adamson, when asked by the Carmel Pine Cone December 10, 2010 if he’s confident that the agency can meet its pension obligations 20 years from now stated “No, it’s a big concern of mine”. If the board feels this way, shouldn’t they be making a basic effort to start funding such needs?


2 of 14. Ongoing Park Employee Allegations:

Filed under: Fleecing Park Taxpayers — Fleecing Park Tax Payers @ 11:43 pm

In most organizations there is a very strong working relationship between staff and management/board. A positive work environment is the best way to ensure that the employee not only feels appreciated, but that the relationship will foster the best possible work product. With any organization there are issues that may come up from time to time. It is then that management has the best opportunity to demonstrate policies such as evenhandedness and support for their employees.

In the case of the park district this was not the case. There has been an ongoing history of repeated clashes between the district and employees. In fact, there have been several instances whereby teaching moments were allowed to turn into extremely negative experiences for employees. Comments from employees regarding such occurrences included allegations against management and the board included:

  • The inability to communicate with all personnel without the fear of retribution

  • Lack of advocacy in disciplinary hearings

  • Employees being deceived, lied to and psychologically ambushed by management

  • Threats, enforced silence, dictatorial action, over the top discipline, and an allegation that these actions prematurely led to the termination of 4 careers.

  • Charges that the district board did not properly oversee the General Manager

  • Continuing low staff morale

  • Insensitive and unfair work environment

As with any personnel matters, it is entirely true that an outside observer doesn’t have the ability to completely assess both sides, but in examining this aspect of the agency, these allegations were observed and experienced by more than one individual. More importantly, there also seems to be an ongoing theme of the board being insensitive or showing no interest in these matters. Case in point are repeated employee letters forwarded to the board, with no response.

We invite the public to assess this aspect of board performance. Copies of some of the correspondence are available at: Employee Letter #1Employee Letter #2Employee Letter #3Employee Letter #4.

Why didn’t the board step in and address these serious allegations? Why doesn’t the board respond in some way to correspondence it receives? What steps has the board taken to ensure that a positive and fair work environment exists? This agency only has 16 employees, how complex can this be? Why has it experienced such a large amount of employee allegations?