Report 2012-121.2 Recommendations and Responses in 2015-041

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 2014-041 Response Not Implemented as of Most Recent Response
Department of Parks and Recreation 2 16 16 16 6

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

See 'BP-1 Development and Distribution' procedures. The Department issues numerous versions of allocations department wide before the budget is enacted.

Attachment D:

BP-1 Development and Distribution

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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

Actions have been taken to start development and implementation of an Expenditure/Projections screen in the Department's Fiscal Tracking System. This would be a tool for the districts and headquarters to review actual and projected expenditures. The tool will allow districts to make changes to formula-driven projected expenditures to reflect changing operations, and will thus reduce duplicative projection efforts. This tool will be accessible via the internet to relevant employees throughout the Department. This will also allow the Budget Office to hold monthly conversations with the districts about their expenditures and will shift ownership of projections to the districts themselves. Once developed, procedures will be developed for the districts on how to use the new screen and what information will need to be input. There will also be procedures in place for the Budget Office on what information to look for and how to properly analyze the information.

Attachment A:

Fund Reconciliation Guide

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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 uses actual past year expenditure data to develop the Park Unit Costing report. As stated in Phase one, Districts calculate and compile the costs to run each park unit. For 10-11 data, Districts determined these costs by considering a number of factors including the amount of time each employee spent at a particular park unit. Since then, the Department has required Districts, as expenditures occur, to assign the expenditures for direct costs (staffing, operating expenditures and encumbrances) to the appropriate park unit(s) through the Department's Fiscal Tracking System. This information was used to start the park unit costing report. All expenditures not attributed to a specific park unit were spread utilizing a percentage provided by Districts. The percentages were developed with a number of factors in mind, consistent with the prior method, including staff time spent at particular park units. The total expenditures at each District and Department-wide were reconciled both prior to the expenditures being distributed based on the percentages and after to ensure the totals remained correct.

See also 'Process for Calculating Park Unit Costs' - January 2014.

Attachment E:

Process for Calculating Park Unit Costs

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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

The Department develops Park Unit Costing mirroring the Budget Cycle. These numbers are released to coincide with the Governor's Budget release on January 10. See also 'Process for Calculating Park Unit Costs' - January 2014. As referenced on page 25 and 26 of the audit report, phase 2 was undertaken and completed. The Department's Fiscal Tracking System was updated and now has the ability to report on Park Unit Costing. Also, as part of phase 2, the Department has offered numerous trainings that touch on Park Unit Costing and will continue to do so on an annual basis as part of the Business and Fiscal Training. Phase 3 centered around developing park unit budgets with regards to service levels. The Department is currently undergoing a transformative effort which is being carried out by the Transformation Team. As part of this effort, the Team is currently in the process of developing a service-based budget which will help inform financial decisions in the future. This effort is expected to be completed in 2016.

Attachment E:

Process for Calculating Park Unit Costs

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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 already mentioned March 2014 training, another training was held in February 2015 for District Administrative Officers and their staff. This packet also includes information on how to input park unit function/costing. Park Unit Costing is a subcomponent of the Department's Fiscal Tracking System, and was explained as part of the Fiscal Tracking System training. See the Fiscal Tracking Systems packet. This information can also be found on the Department's Intranet page and is readily available from the Fiscal Systems Support Unit as well.

Attachment F:

March 2014 Roster for Puff Training/McClellan Training Center

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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

Work is ongoing with the Transformation Team in Service Based Budgeting. This effort will define service levels and park unit budgets. This effort is slated for completion in 2016.

No Attachment

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Pending
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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

The Department released its Park Unit Costing report in January 2015 which identified actual expenditures at the park unit level. 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. See 'Expenditure Unit Detail, Fiscal Year 2013-14'.

Attachment G:

Park Unit Costing Report

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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 disagrees as we have not remained silent regarding our response to Recommendation #8 for the unauthorized leave buyback transactions.

On March 10, 2014 a response memo to Elaine M. Howell was provided which indicated:

"This training was provided to all Personnel staff who could be involved with leave buyback."

To support proof of this training the department provided "Attachment C -Transactions Office Cash Out Policy Meeting". This substantiates that the Transactions Managers, Ronette Martinez and Keren Yowell provided training to the Personnel Specialists, Senior Personnel Specialists and Personnel Supervisors on January 23, 2014.

The following documents and actions were completed at this training meeting:

- "Attachment D - DPR Memo/Subject: Cash Out/Buy Back of Leave Options" was read, scenarios were discussed, questions answered and copies provided to all attendees.

- "Attachment E - SCO Memo/Subject: Cash-Out/Buy Back of Leave Benefits" was read, scenarios were discussed and questions answered and copies provided to all attendees.

Attachment H:

PML 2014-008/009 and Prior Years Attachment *C, *D and *E (Audit Response 2014)

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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

As indicated previously CalHR and DOF have written procedures of authorized leave buybacks. The Department has created an authorization form for all other forms of leave buyback i.e. per bargaining unit agreement. The form will specify the authority for the buyback and will include appropriate signatures.

Attachment I:

Leave Accounting Letter #12-016; Request for Leave Credit Cash Out; 2015 BU 2,7,9,10, 12 Vacation/Annual Leave Cash Out Program; 2015 BU 13; Vacation/Annual Leave Cash Out Program; 2015 Excluded Leave Buy-Back Program

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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

In addition to any procedures established by control agencies (Department of Finance, State Controller's Office, etc.), State Parks requires additional Transaction Supervisory review for all cash out of leave balances. Transaction's Supervisors review and provide signature approval on leave buy back documents. Once review is obtained, Transaction's Specialists are authorized to key the transaction.

Attachment I:

Leave Accounting Letter #12-016

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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

In order to maintain and monitor the confidentiality and integrity of the State Controller's Office (SCO) sensitive and confidential data, as well as protect SCO's systems against misuse, abuse, and unauthorized use, the security monitor and assistant security monitor for Parks have a working knowledge of the SCO Personnel/Payroll Services Division's systems and applications, as well as the different level of system access. They also understand they must ensure compliance with the standards, procedures, and controls indicated in SCO's Decentralized Security Program manual, including the California Information Practices Act of 1977 and the California State Administrative Manual developed by the Department of General Services.

In addition, Parks created and follows the Matrix of Parks Defined SCO Access Roles (attached) which serves as a "safety net" or "second check" to ensure all requests for user access conform to the rules and regulations, as well as their classification and access levels. The Personnel Office will continue to serve as the final internal review, and provide final signature approval prior to sending the request for access to SCO. This procedure has also been added to our Security Monitor Binder, readily available to our security monitors and our Personnel Officer.

Attachment J:

State Controller's Office Access Matrix Plan

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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

The EPRC was disbanded as part of a process improvement team using the Lean 6-Sigma process learned through the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) program. Requests for Personnel Action will be approved by the Director or designee.

Attachment K:

Departmental Notice 2015-04 - DPR 81/501 Package - Administrative Review and Approval

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Resolved
  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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

The EPRC was disbanded as part of a process improvement team using the Lean 6-Sigma process learned through the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) program. Each Deputy will have the determination of priorities delegated to him/her.

Attachment K:

Departmental Notice 2015-04 - DPR 81/501 Package - Administrative Review and Approval

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Resolved
  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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

While the EPRC has been disbanded, career opportunity bulletins are provided to the Director weekly. These bulletins illustrate a summary of all potential hires by unit, and classification, and name.

Attachment L:

Career Opportunity Bulletin

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Resolved
  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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

The EPRC was disbanded as part of a process improvement team using the Lean 6-Sigma process learned through the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) program. Each Deputy will have the determination of priorities delegated to him/her.

Attachment K:

Departmental Notice 2015-04 - DPR 81/501 Package - Administrative Review and Approval

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented
  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

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

Chapter 28, Statutes of 2015 repealed Government Code Section 12439, meaning that positions are no longer abolished by the State Controller's Office after being vacant for a period of six consecutive months. In the absence of those requirements, the Department does not believe a specific process is required to ensure that its position control staff does not circumvent state law to preserve vacant positions.

No Attachment

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Resolved
  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

Current Status of Recommendations

All Recommendations in 2015-041