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Friday, October 28, 2011

Marcus Santiago, Park Patrol Chief, Allegedly on Thin Ice

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Marcus Santiago has been paid for a number of 70-hour-a-week, 52-week-a-year workloads - JOSEPH SCHELL
  • Joseph Schell
  • Marcus Santiago has been paid for a number of 70-hour-a-week, 52-week-a-year workloads

Multiple sources within the city have told SF Weekly that the Recreation and Parks Department in recent weeks has been taking steps to replace embattled Park Patrol Chief Marcus Santiago with a yet-unnamed retired police captain.

Santiago was the subject of a September SF Weekly cover story by Matt Smith. That article revealed that Santiago has been more than doubling his income via upward of $85,000 in yearly overtime pay, while also divvying up lucrative overtime assignments to a cadre of favorites. Santiago's department has been the target of whistleblower complaints, court actions, and even a federal investigation.

Straightforward questions put to Rec and Parks' spokeswoman, Connie Chan, were answered via an obfuscatory, legalistic morass.

Questions including "Does Marcus Santiago remain Park Patrol chief?" and "Is there someone else doing all or some of his duties?" elicited the following reply:

"While we intend to put in a place an additional layer of supervision for further accountability, we are facing limitation with budget and personnel resources, so our Park Patrol operation structure has remained the same as last fiscal year."

More specific queries were shot down with the all-encompassing "no personnel questions" defense. Per our sources, it would seem Rec and Parks was moving to reassign Santiago as recently as last week -- but the current status is uncertain.

Santiago says he's uncertain, too. Reached by SF Weekly, he declined to comment on whether a new chief park ranger had been hired or not. Asked whether he still was the head park ranger, he replied, "I'm still where I am, that's all I know right now."

Peter Jamison contributed to this report.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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