SACRAMENTO — An administrator at California's parks department who authorized illegal vacation buyouts for employees has agreed to pay a $7,000 fine imposed by the state's ethics watchdog agency.
The Fair Political Practices Commission announced the action against Manuel Thomas Lopez, 45, in a case that helped lead to a broader financial scandal that cost top parks officials their jobs.
Lopez was deputy director of the department's Administrative Services Division. In a scheme he authorized, employees cashed in more than $285,000 worth of accrued vacation time.
In addition, he illegally cashed out more than 500 hours of his own leave time, worth more than $28,000.
In a document released by the FPPC on Friday, the agency said Lopez was "making governmental decisions in which [he] knew he had a financial interest," in violation of state law.