Rec and Park to reinterview more than 130 employees 

More than 130 workers at the Recreation and Park Department will be forced to reinterview for the positions they hold — and some will not make the cut as the agency looks to trim its budget.

As Rec and Park moves to hack $12.4 million from its $33.4 million general fund — which pays for salaries — the more than 130 workers who work in clubhouses and supervise parks will be reinterviewing through the department and getting more specific job descriptions to tighten loose ends. Rec and Park employs about 850 workers now.

It’s an overhaul to Rec and Park’s outdated hiring system and it means the employees won’t have to wear as many hats. For instance, baseball coaches are asked to watch over tiny tots, but under the new system they could be full-time coaches, Rec and Park spokesman Elton Pon said.

There are two extremes to overhauling Rec and Park that could save $2 million: either a 3 percent raise or be let go, said park union representative Don Franklin, who also works as a recreation director.

“It comes with pain, but there’s a lot of opportunity,” said Franklin, SEIU 1021 Rec and Park chapter vice president.
Franklin, who said he has worked with Rec and Park since 1983, said everyone will either get a new job title — and in some cases a 3 percent raise — be offered part-time work or be laid off.

The employees who will be affected have salaries that range from $41,990 to $76,596. Higher paid workers will be most likely to get 3 percent raises, because they will compete for more elite positions with more responsibility, Franklin said.

The reinterviewing and restructuring of Rec and Park is in addition to the layoffs that may be coming from The City’s level.

Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the issuance of 15,000 pink slips to city employees — hundreds of them at Rec and Park, including General Manager Phil Ginsburg. Some of those workers could be hired back, but at a reduced work week of 37.5 hours.

“So if you get through past the pink slips and also this, at least we know we’re working in a model that helps shape the future,” Franklin said.

SEIU organizer Margot Reed, who represents thousands of city employees who were issued pink slips including those in Rec and Park, said all the departments should be re-evaluating their dated hiring systems.

“If we just kept cutting we’d still be trying to figure out how to fight, watching stuff get privatized left and right,” Reed said. “This is sort of the EMT version. Get it kick-started and springboard it for growth.”

The recreational employees will be interviewed within the coming months, and then be notified in segments through August about their positions.

Recreational sites

The Recreation and Park Department oversees hundreds of locations in and near San Francisco. The department is responsible for:

- More than 200 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces throughout The City
- Two sites outside SF — Sharp Park in Pacifica and Camp Mather in the High Sierra
- 15 full-complex recreation centers 
- Nine swimming pools
- Five golf courses
- Hundreds of tennis courts, ball diamonds, athletic fields and basketball courts
- Responsibility to maintain the Marina Yacht Harbor, Candlestick Park, the San Francisco Zoo and the Lake Merced Complex

Source: Recreation and Park Department

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

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Kamala Kelkar

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