Parks Director Calls Accounting Errors 'Mind-boggling'
California’s new State Parks Director says he’s working to overhaul an agency that has come under fire for underreporting 54 million dollars in funds. Anthony Jackson told a legislative committee today he's trying to implement the state auditor's suggestions for improving department oversight.
The legislative hearing poured over a state audit detailing how, for years, the Parks Department gave one funding number to the agency charged with putting together the department’s budget, and a higher, accurate, total to the State Controller.
Parks Director Anthony Jackson told lawmakers his agency is working to turn things around.
"We acknowledge that unfortunate and improper actions occurred," Jackson said, "and need to be fixed and prevented in the future. We did not, and have not, delayed in fixing the problems."
Among the audit recommendations: figure out how much it costs to run each park. That’s a total the department never had, even when it was threatening to close 70. Jackson called the lack of accounting “mind-boggling.”
"I concur with the idea that we’re not looking at exactly what it costs to run an individual park - is kind of - it’s sort of amazing from a budgeting detail," Jackson said.
Jackson says his goal is to identify the funding needs for each of California’s 280 parks. The department currently tracks costs by multiple-park districts, since staffers often work at more than one facility.