Gov. Jerry Brown appoints budget manager to continue reform at beleaguered parks department



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SACRAMENTO, California — Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday named a budget manager to continue reform efforts at California's beleaguered parks department.

Brown appointed Lisa Mangat to lead the Department of Parks and Recreation, where she has been serving as acting director since 2014. Mangat previously worked for the Department of Finance, the Legislative Analyst's Office and as a consultant with the Legislature.

Her annual salary is $157,708 and requires Senate confirmation.

The previous director abruptly resigned last year after less than two years on the job. Anthony Jackson, a retired Marine Corps major general, was initially tapped to restore integrity to the department after $54 million was found hidden in secret accounts while budget cuts were threatening to close 70 of nearly 280 state parks.

The 2012 scandal forced several top parks officials to resign or be dismissed. It prompted several investigations and the formation of a privately financed commission called Parks Forward to make recommendations to state lawmakers.

The commission's report called for partnering with other organizations to help bring financial stability to the department. It also called for upgrading technology and ending an outdated management practices such as promoting only law enforcement rangers to leadership positions.

California's 1.6 million acres of parkland include 339 miles of Pacific coastline, 15,000 campsites and 4,456 trails.

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