Sacramento, CA — The director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation has resigned and her second in command has been fired. Director Ruth Coleman stepped down today and Chief Deputy, Michael Harris, was fired amid questions about the department’s funds.
State officials say the department has been sitting on nearly $54 million in surplus money for years. That money could have helped fund some of the 70 state parks, like Railtown 1897 in Jamestown, that were slated for closure.
The surplus money comes from two operating budgets; $20.3million is part of the Parks and Recreation Fund and $33.5 million is part of the Off Highway Vehicle fund. State officials say that money should have been reported to the Finance Department.
Both the states Attorney General’s office and the Department of Finance are now investigating.