Transforming the Budget Management System

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The successful transformation of any large organization ultimately requires the evaluation and enhancement of the processes in place to plan and manage the financial resources of the organization. It is critical that the organization has the effective and relevant information needed to drive key decisions related to the allocation and distribution of resources.

To that end, the Transformation Team has in place an initiative focused on transforming the budget management system of California State Parks into a mechanism that will determine the level of service the parks can provide at varying levels of funding. This data will help the department set program and service priorities.

To address this transformation challenge, the Transformation Team’s Finance and Budget Committee (Committee) developed a service-based budgeting (SSB) process and tool aimed at three key objectives:

  1. Collect the more detailed level of data needed to truly understand the tasks and level of effort required to operate the department and allow it to meet its mission.
  2. Allow district superintendents and park managers to understand how to maintain service levels in a flexible and cost-effective way.
  3. Allow park managers to be held accountable for annual program and service outcomes.

In January, the Committee launched a pilot SBB budgeting effort in the Gold Field District, Northern Service Center and in 16 individual parks across 10 districts. The pilot was a resounding success with 100 percent reporting on time. The pilot also demonstrated the value of peer knowledge via the Yammer online forum. Yammer allowed pilot participants to post and read all the issues and questions being raised and to rapidly see the solutions offered by their contemporaries as well as from SBB team members.

What’s next? SSB will be rolled out to all remaining parks and units (except those in the pilot) including headquarters units scheduled to begin March 21 with a May 6 completion date. As the department works through this process, there will be plenty of help. Staff will be provided training and a user guide will be available.

Meanwhile, the committee will begin development of a budget management system to create an ability to analyze, evaluate and report on the data generated. The financial information generated from SBB will greatly assist leadership in developing, presenting and advocating for the 2017/2018 budget for California State Parks.

We want to thank the Finance and Budget Committee core-team members for their efforts – Clay Phillips, Karl Knapp, Ron Birkhead, Jason DeWall, Michaele DeBoer and consultant Deloitte Consulting LLC. A big thank you to the pilot participants! Below are the participating units (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Auburn State Recreation Area (SRA)
  • Baldwin Hills State Park (SP)
  • Big Basin State Park
  • Bolsa Chica State Beach (SB)
  • Crystal Cove SB
  • Empire Mine State Historic Park (SHP)
  • Folsom Powerhouse SHP
  • Gold Fields District
  • Huntington SB
  • Lake Perris SRA
  • Marshall Gold Discovery SHP
  • Monterey SHP
  • New Brighton SB
  • Northern Service Center
  • Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area
  • Prairie Creek Redwoods SP
  • Torrey Pines SB/State Natural Reserve


  • Stay abreast of the Transformation Team’s progress on their website.
  • The Transformation Team is interested to know your ideas, thoughts and comments. Let us know what you think.
  • Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook and stay updated on #TransformationTuesdays!

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