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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rec & Park Workers Terrified Over Looming Layoffs Amid New Hirings of $100K Managers -- and Ready to Rally

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 5:30 AM

click to enlarge The Recreation and Parks Department has found another way to get folks out of the pool: Cut jobs and cut hours
  • The Recreation and Parks Department has found another way to get folks out of the pool: Cut jobs and cut hours
You have to feel for Jared Blumenfeld. Taking over the city's Recreation and Parks Department -- especially on an interim basis -- is like being handed a feather duster and being asked to tidy the hotel suite after Mötley Crüe has completed their coke-fueled orgy. In short, Rec & Parks may be the biggest mess in San Francisco government. Think about the ramifications of that statement.   

At his most recent budget meeting, Blumenfeld outlined a plan to trim the department's hefty operating deficit. Most bothersome to his employees was a promise of 72 job cuts (to be announced next week), including 51 "Full-Time Equivalents" in positions earning salaries of around $42,000 to $48,000. Several current and former workers told SF Weekly the department is a virtual trauma center; employees are sweating bullets and infuriated that, as their middling jobs are cut, Parks & Rec has still added a handful of upper managers earning $100,000 or more. In a P.R. move roughly equivalent to striking up a rousing chorus of "Dixie" to celebrate Black History Month, Rec & Parks brought on a pair of six-figure managers in the immediate wake of laying off 39-year employee Lynn Dyer via form letter (from my calls to several current and former department workers, we can say this: They noticed that). Calls to Rec & Parks for comment on this story have not been returned.

A city hall rally put on by Parents Rights for San Francisco decrying the planned layoffs of "recreation professionals" and charging "cronyism" in retaining the department's big earners is scheduled for 1 p.m today (Rally aficionados can hang around after the "Bring booze and nudity back to Bay to Breakers!" rally hosted by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi at 11:30 a.m.). Park & Rec employees are frantically circulating e-mails behind the scenes to drum up attendance at the rally -- and the 2 p.m. Rec and Park Committee meeting to follow.

Rec & Parks' plan to lay off its middle-class while continuing to hire top managers comes off as especially odious in light of a development Benjamin Wachs reported on this page recently: For years, the department did not hire enough small- to middle-earners. Now the plan is to turn around and liquidate those ranks. What's more, Rec & Parks workers grumble that their facilities are being "privatized" with YMCA and Rec Connect workers now running programs out of Rec & Park structures.

Dyer, who left City College to work for Rec & Park back in 1970 has a term for all of this: "Typical city bullshit."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

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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