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Retired Marine prepares to lead troubled parks department

January 2, 2013 |  1:04 pm

Anthony Jackson, the retired Marine major general who was appointed to lead the California Parks and Recreation Department, faces a tough start after the revelation of the agency's $54-million hidden surplus

It's been months since officials revealed that the California Parks and Recreation Department had a $54-million hidden surplus, but bad headlines have kept trickling out of the agency.

Two separate reviews have found problems with payroll policies and the tracking of private donations, and there are still two more examinations scheduled to be released later this month.

It's a difficult welcome for Anthony Jackson, the retired Marine major general who was appointed to lead the department in November. 

"We're going to take a few gut shots as these reports and audits come out," Jackson acknowledged in an interview. "But we're going to get off the mat."

Jackson still has to be confirmed by the state Senate within a year of his appointment. He's pledged to restore the public's trust in a department that has become notorious for accounting problems.

"I want people to know that every nickel and every dime will be honestly handled within the department," he said when being sworn in to his new position.

ALSO:

California parks department finds $54-million surplus

Controller finds more accounting problems in parks payroll

Discovery of California parks fund provokes backlash from donors

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
twitter.com/chrismegerian

Photo: Anthony Jackson, the new state parks director, checks on an orange tree at his home in Fallbrook. He and his wife have been preserving a habitat for native plants and animals on their property. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

"We're going to take a few gut shots as these reports and audits come out," Jackson acknowledged. "But we're going to get off the mat."
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