The Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District and the Nevada County Grand Jury don’t see eye to eye. That much is clear after a grand jury report critical of the district was released on June 28, and the district’s general manager prepared a response that disagreed with many of the report’s findings.

Although the district’s board has not signed off on the response drafted by General Manager Steve Randall, the document illuminates the almost opposite ways the two bodies see the district, which the grand jury said had a “lack of managerial oversight” and a “lack of communication between … management and the board.”

Randall’s response to the grand jury was not acted on by the board because one board member, Kevin Murphy, was out of the country and another, Peter Werbel, had just returned from vacation and did not have time to review the response, said Kristin York, the board chair.

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But York said she agreed with Randall’s four-page response, which disagreed with five of the grand jury’s findings, partially agreed with two findings, and noted that four of the recommendations had been implemented or were already in place.
Randall’s response said that there is open communication between management and the board, and that the grand jury had its facts wrong about a sexual harassment complaint filed by a district employee.

“The general manager has an open-door policy which includes the board, staff, and the general public,” wrote Randall in his response.

York echoed Randall’s assessment.

“I feel really good about how the district is managed,” said York. “[We have] such a strong core team and they take their job so seriously.”

York, however, did acknowledge that the rec and park district experienced some growing pains over the last few years. The district manages or oversees a remarkable number of recreation facilities in the Truckee area, including Riverview Sports Park, Truckee Regional Park, Ponderosa Golf Course, the Donner Lake piers, Donner Lake’s West End Beach, the community arts center, the new community center, the Truckee pool, the Truckee Pump Track, and the Vet’s Hall building. And despite declining property tax revenue during the housing recession, the district has continued to invest in facilities, including launching plans to remodel the community arts center in downtown Truckee and build an aquatic center alongside the new community center.

That growth caused some accounting issues, which were pointed out in independent audits of the district. The district resolved those accounting problems by contracting with the Town of Truckee for accounting services, before adding a new district accounting position and bringing the accounting work back in-house.

“We added a lot of programming without adding a lot of core staff,” said York.

With property tax revenues once again on the rise, York said the financial outlook for the district is bright.

“The district is very stable right now,” York said.

The recreation and park district board is required to respond to the grand jury report by Sept. 28. To read the full grand jury report, visit nevadacountycourts.com and click on “Grand Jury Reports.” To view the rec and park district’s draft response, visit tdrpd.com/agendas_minutes.html and click on the July 25 Board Packet.

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  • David Bunker

    David Bunker almost dropped out of journalism school to hunt non-native rats on an uninhabited Pacific island. Instead, he graduated college and launched into a career of dump truck driving and ditch digging before taking up writing as a profession. He’s written for newspapers and magazines across the West and won numerous first place awards in the California and Nevada press associations.

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