Report 2012-121.2 Recommendations and Responses in 2014-041

Report 2012-121.2: Department of Parks and Recreation: Flaws in Its Budget Allocation Processes Hinder Its Ability to Effectively Manage the Park System

Department Number of Years Reported As Not Fully Implemented Total Recommendations to Department Not Implemented After One Year Not Implemented as of 2013-041 Response Not Implemented as of Most Recent Response
Department of Parks and Recreation 1 16 16 n/a 16

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To ensure that districts receive timely budget allocations, the department should establish and implement a formal allocation process by January 2014 that includes the following:

- A timeline that mirrors the State's budget process and describes when the department will provide park districts with draft allocations, revisions to draft allocations, and final allocations.

- A description of the roles and responsibilities of key staff involved in the process, including budget office staff, the deputy directors and division chiefs for park operations and the OHMVR division, and district superintendents.

Response

The process has been incorporated into the Budget Office's Desk Procedures. Desk procedures do not go into a department-wide policy manual such as the DAM because it would confuse the reader.

Attached is a sample of an e-mail that went out to the Districts on July 1, 2014, with their budget allocation plans.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Pending
  • Estimated Completion Date: July 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To reduce duplicate expenditure tracking and increase the effectiveness of its budget process, the department should develop procedures requiring the districts to prepare and submit spending plans and to periodically submit their total expenditures after reconciling them with the FTS. The procedures should specify how often districts should provide this information to the department to ensure that the budget office and park management can appropriately oversee the districts' budgets and spending.

Response

The Districts' projections and tracking is not duplicative but rather a necessary tool. It is similar to tracking a personal checking account with a checkbook register instead of relying on the bank to know your account balance. Districts make sure invoices are not lost, that are mailed to headquarters, by checking the system for payment. Headquarters would not be able to check for a missing invoice because they don't know what the districts have sent. Together both the Districts and the Budget Office projections start the conversation between offices and provide Executive Staff information to make informed decisions.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: No Action Taken
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To ensure that it can comply with state law in the event that it must close parks or reduce park services in the future, the department should improve its methodology for developing individual park unit budgets and determining and tracking park-level costs. Specifically, the department should update its description of phase one to adequately explain how it will reconcile individual park costs for fiscal year 2010-11 to the department's total actual expenditures to operate the parks.

Response

The Department tracked expenditures at the Park Unit Level in fiscal year 2013-14. The Budget Office will be reconciling this information against budgetary and accounting documents provided to the Department of Finance (DOF) for preparation of the Governor's January 10 Budget.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: No Action Taken
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To ensure that it can comply with state law in the event that it must close parks or reduce park services in the future, the department should improve its methodology for developing individual park unit budgets and determining and tracking park-level costs. Specifically, the department should develop specific time frames and deliverables for the completion of phases two and three of its plan. These time frames should include specific completion dates for each key component of the phases.

Response

Annually on January 10, concurrent with the release of the Governor's Budget, the Department releases past-year actual expenditures at the Park Unit Level. The Budget Office also releases the initial "Budget Plan" for the next Budget Year. This is an initial plan at appropriation levels and could change during the budget cycle.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: No Action Taken
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To ensure that it can comply with state law in the event that it must close parks or reduce park services in the future, the department should improve its methodology for developing individual park unit budgets and determining and tracking park-level costs. Specifically, the department should provide training as soon as possible to park operations staff to ensure that they consistently collect the data necessary for phase two.

Response

In addition to the initial training the Administrative Division provided Park Unit Cost training to the Administrative Officers and their staff on March 17 through March 20, 2014 at our Parks' McClellan Training Center.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Pending
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To ensure that it can comply with state law in the event that it must close parks or reduce park services in the future, the department should improve its methodology for developing individual park unit budgets and determining and tracking park-level costs. Specifically, the department should determine how it will define service levels and measure whether those levels are being met so it can provide budgets for each park unit, as phase three of its process requires.

Response

The Department continues to work with Parks Forward to further define and address service levels and appropriate measurement tools for this process.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Pending
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To ensure that the Legislature has the information necessary to make any future decisions related to service reductions or park closures, beginning in fiscal year 2014-15 the department should provide it with an annual report that details the costs to operate each park unit.

Response

Every year concurrent with the January 10 release of the Governor's Budget, the Department will release past-year actual expenditures at the Park Unit Level.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Pending
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To prevent unauthorized leave buyback transactions, the department should provide training by December 2013 to all department managers and personnel staff who might be involved in leave buyback transactions to ensure that they understand the State's requirements regarding leave buybacks.

Response

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) and DOF authorized the Leave Buyback Program for fiscal year 2013-14. The Department followed the procedures set up by CalHR (Personnel Management Liaisons Memorandum (PML) 2014-008 and 2014-009).

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: No Action Taken
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To prevent unauthorized leave buyback transactions, the department should establish written policies and procedures requiring the personnel office's transactions unit to obtain documentation from managers who request leave buyback transactions. The documentation should specify the authority for the leave buyback and include appropriate authorizing signatures.

Response

CalHR and DOF authorized the Leave Buyback Program for fiscal year 2013-14. The Department followed the procedures set up by CalHR Personnel Management Liaisons Memorandum (PML) 2014-008 and 2014-009). Detailed instructions were sent out to managers, supervisors, and affected employees. These procedures have changed each time CalHR and DOF authorize a Leave Buyback Program and therefore setting up our own procedures would not be appropriate. Parks must follow the statewide process.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: No Action Taken
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To prevent unauthorized leave buyback transactions, the department should increase the level of supervisory review to ensure that transactions unit staff process only authorized and properly coded leave buyback transactions.

Response

The Department has changed our procedure. Only the Director or his/her designee can approve the Departments participation in a Leave Buyback Program authorized by CalHR and DOF.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Pending
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To prevent unauthorized leave buyback transactions, the department should limit access for keying transactions to the payroll system only to authorized personnel staff.

Response

The State Controller's Office (SCO) requires Department's to follow their security procedures as outlined in Office of the State Controller Personnel/Payroll Services Division: Decentralized Security Program Manual. The SCO Decentralized Security Administrator (DSA) manages SCO's Decentralized Security Program. The DSA makes the final determination as to who can key transactions based on job duties. The Authorizing Official/Manager and the Security Monitor are responsible for requesting SCO to either add or delete authorized users.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: No Action Taken
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To improve the effectiveness of the EPRC, the department should update its administrative manual by March 2014 to specify the members of the EPRC, the members' roles and responsibilities, and the personnel actions that the EPRC is responsible for reviewing.

Response

EPRC was disbanded as was recommended by a process improvement team using the Lean 6-Sigma process learned through the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) program. As such, a revision of the DAM is no longer necessary.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: No Action Taken
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To improve the effectiveness of the EPRC, the department should establish policies and procedures by March 2014 to govern the EPRC's decisions on personnel actions. These policies and procedures should include the specific factors and their relative importance that the members must consider when making decisions and should require the EPRC to document its decisions and the reasons for those decisions.

Response

EPRC was disbanded as was recommended by a process improvement team using the Lean 6-Sigma process learned through the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) program. As such, establishing policies and procedures is no longer necessary.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: No Action Taken
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To improve the effectiveness of the EPRC, by March 2014, the department should require the EPRC to periodically provide a summary report of its decisions to the director's office so that the director can monitor whether those decisions are consistent with his priorities.

Response

EPRC was disbanded as was recommended by a process improvement team using the Lean 6-Sigma process learned through the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) program. Personnel decisions are conveyed to the acting Director on a regular basis, through routine meetings and emails, to ensure that Personnel decisions conform to her priorities.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: No Action Taken
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To improve the effectiveness of the EPRC, the department should establish a process by March 2014 through which the director's office provides formal direction to the EPRC regarding staffing priorities.

Response

EPRC was disbanded as was recommended by a process improvement team using the Lean 6-Sigma process learned through the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) program. The Director's Office communicates staffing priorities during regularly scheduled meetings and/or emails with the Deputy Director of Administrative Services Division.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: No Action Taken
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Parks and Recreation, Department of

To ensure that its position control unit staff do not circumvent state law to preserve vacant positions, the department should establish procedures that include a process to periodically review any personnel transactions that are not subject to EPRC review. It should provide a summary report of this review to the director's office and the EPRC.

Response

EPRC was disbanded as was recommended by a process improvement team using the Lean 6-Sigma process learned through the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) program. Additionally, the Department adheres to the procedures in PML 2014-011 and the requirements in Government Code section 12439. A monthly vacancy report is given to Executive Staff and the Director's Office for review to ensure personnel staff is not preserving vacant positions through the "shell game."

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: No Action Taken
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Current Status of Recommendations

All Recommendations in 2014-041