Hearst Castle superintendent placed on 30 day leave

February 24, 2014

hearst_castle_poolFollowing the filling of the 345,000 gallon Neptune pool for Lady Gaga, the state suspended Hearst Castle Superintendent Nick Franco for 30 days, castle sources said.

Less than two weeks earlier, park officials said they were draining the pool, which leaks between 3,000 to 5,000 gallons of water a day. The spring that provides water for the castle and the Hearst Ranch is diminished because of the drought and that there is not enough water to carry the castle through summer, the announcement said.

The draining was heralded by local media and castle officials as a water conservation action.

However, Lady Gaga wanted to have her photo taken in front of the famous pool and offered to pay the cost of replenishing the water. In addition, she contributed more than $275,000 to the Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation.

Nevertheless, State Parks Department officials did not authorize filling of the pool, said Deputy Public Affairs Director Vicky Waters.


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Isn’t this the SAME agency that was caught stashing away public funds and not declaring until an audit found the “misplaced” funds?

A state conundrum laced with corruption….just another day.

Yes, it’s the same agency, Pelican. Very good observation on your point. At least this time they didn’t fire/ruin an otherwise apparently dedicated employee.

We appreciate your reminder about this agency. The whole mess of government is so lame, (a-hem) that you need a score card or Pelican to remind of the regular chunks of malfeasance. Too many of them at all levels to track.

City: Solomon/Chitty, Marx, Irons, App et al

County: Hill, Gibson, CAPSLO et al

State/Federal: sorry, typed name list exceeds 1000 character limit…..

Racket, that descision would have come from the Office Of Discipline Services in Sacramento. Nick’s Supervisor might have asked for Adverse Action but it would not have come down this fast from Sacramento. This smells like someone in Sacramento is trying to make this issue go away by saying they already took care of it.

Office of Discipline “Services”

The name alone makes me laugh.

All the petty crap put forth by the state and their minions has probably soaked up the entire $275,000.00 that should have been pure profit. Go state!

What is the name of Franco’s supervisor who placed him on leave?

Major General Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret.), director of California State Parks, appointed by Governor Brown. He knows how to command troops but has no clue how to run the state parks system – and he needs to be replaced.

Thank you.

This forced leave was of such import it made it to the Director’s desk, or was in made by an underling with his oversight? If so, who was that?

As a Superintendent who works for the State I can tell you with confidence this goes higher than Nick. I think he is being used as a scapegoat. No State Superintendent could make a decision of this magnitude without the express consent of his superiors. On top of that any money paid to the agency would have to go to Sacramento to be deposited into the General Fund. Also as a Superintendent Nick has no Union Representation. Readers really should gather the facts before slinging mud.

This is the dumb#$@% that has caused the drought in Cambria…yeh, his fault. If he would have let us drill a little test well at the mouth of Santa Rosa Creek, we might have desalination in place and be selling water instead of cherishing it. He thinks of himself as king of the hill, but I’ve already claimed the title.

Anyone who says that Nick Franco is dumb or made a mistake in his actions is dumb themselves. Let’s see-$275,000 was paid for 375,000 gallons???? That is over $.70 per gallon for…..yeah, it’s water!!!!! The only deal I know greater than this is when the island of Manhattan was sold for a string of beads.

He should be give a special award and a raise, and at that $.70 rate, the State of California could afford to build desalinization plants in every city along the coast and erase all the State deficits for the next 100 years, and yes, even afford the lavish pensions being given out now!!! Unfortunately, they don’t use calculators in Sacramento and certainly would ignore the results even if they did in the name of illogical politics.

Not to mention the publicity for Hearst Castle of having it featured in a pop-stars music video.

In Mr. Franco’s letter to deny the well on State property he indicated one of his reasons was he could not allow commercial exploitation of State property. He was referring to the Cambria Community Service District’s sale of water to the residents as commercial exploitation. I think his allowing Lady Gaga to use the Castle for a commercial video is greater exploitation of State property than providing an opportunity for the people of Cambria to have a reliable water source.

Must be rough to get 30 days off and since there is no formal action I’m sure union rules require him to be paid during his publicity vacation. What a great system we have.

Not seen here but other sources stated this as a paid leave, so again another paid 30 day vacation and no other consequences, only in the public sector, must be nice, a actually job lose might help put a stop to these types of behaviors.

Nick Franco is a good man, I hope this is temporary.