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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Park Patrol Lawsuits May Cost City $250K

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 4:05 PM

click to enlarge Marcus Santiago, constantly at work - JOSEPH SCHELL
Joseph Schell
Marcus Santiago, constantly at work
Earlier this week we reported on an interesting potential development regarding the city's park rangers. A Matt Smith cover story last year revealed that head park patrol officer Marcus Santiago had transformed his small force into a lucrative overtime machine -- more than doubling his take-home pay in the process. The Recreation and Park Department's inspired solution to this problem? Hire a "chief" park patrol officer and insert him as insulation between Santiago and Dennis Kern, the manager who has consistently looked past Santiago's transgressions.

Those transgressions, however -- they're not exactly cheap. A former ranger named Mike Horan, as referenced in Smith's story, filed suit against Santiago and the city, alleging discrimination in the distribution of overtime hours. This also resulted in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filing a case against the city.

Horan's lawyer, Andrew Pierce, says that case may be nearing an official settlement. And sources within government tell SF Weekly it will involve a hefty $250,000 payout.

Pierce said the city and EEOC are still hammering out the details; when asked if the purported $250,000 payout to his client was part of those details, he would only say, "That sounds like a nice sum of money."

If the EEOC and city settle, Pierce said he'd dismiss Horan's separate case against the city.

Considering that the city is hoping to budget $150,000 to hire a park patrol chief to oversee Santiago; this suit is purportedly going to cost $250,000; and Santiago routinely manages to take home $85,000 in overtime on top of his $67,000 salary -- Rec and Park is having a harder and harder time making these numbers add up favorably.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more


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