Rec employees get new titles, layoffs

This week marks the start of an overhauled recreational staff that’s laden with emotions on either end of the spectrum.

The reorganization was supposed to allow recreational professionals to focus on their areas of expertise, sports, cultural arts, etc. by applying for more specified positions, but at the same time save the department up to $2 million.

It also meant layoffs, merged positions and the early retirement of some beloved recreational employees.

For example, Clarence Towers, who has taught photography at the Harvey Milk Center since 1977, said he either had to take a pay cut or move to another facility.

“I’m certainly aware of economics, but it’s a facility that’s been there for 53 years; the longest running, single program that I know of that Rec and Park has had,’’ Towers said.

He said he has faith in his replacement, and understands the economic crisis, but it still hit close to home.

Rec and Park is still tidying up the exact numbers. The budget the department submitted to Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office in July assumed the department would cut 45 of its approximately 850 staff positions, but not all of those would necessarily be recreational.

“It’s fine. I’m tired of politics and want to get back into photography,’’ he said.

Don Franklin, who represents the recreational union SEIU 1021, said in the early stages that the changes would come with a lot of pain, but also provide a lot of opportunity. h


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