The superintendent of a California state park has been put on leave while an investigation has been launched into the possible destruction of critical records.
The Sacramento Bee reports that the apparent unauthorized destruction of state records was reported by a janitor who found bags of shredded documents at the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area. The shredding came in the middle of a statewide investigation of financial misconduct at state parks, sparked by the discovery of $54 million in unspent funds at a time the agency was planning to close parks due to budget cuts.
There are no allegations of financial impropriety at Ocotillo Wells, but the document destruction may violate an order that all records at all state parks offices be maintained while the budget mess is sorted out, according to sources quoted by the state capitol’s largest newspaper.
The Bee reported that the superintendent, Kathy Dolinar, was relieved of her duties Thursday, and that an unnamed administrative officer at the desert park has already been reassigned.
The state parks agency has been in turmoil since the secret funds were discovered. Director Ruth Coleman resigned, admitting that she should have known about the money while presiding over an agency that was preparing to close down numerous parks due to a funding shortage.
The Bee reported that Ocotillo Wells had been the source of sexual harassment complaints against parks supervisors, and a whistleblower complaint that park administrators were failing to uphold environmental protection laws at the off-road vehicle park.