​FROM:
George Kennedy, District Attorney  CONTACT PERSON:
Bill Larsen, Special Assistant District Attorney
(408) 792-2703   For Release on May 15, 2003   CITY OF PALO ALTO - COMMUNITY SERVICES DEPARTMENT GOLF COURSE   BACKGROUND:   The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office completed a review of facts compiled by the Palo Alto Police Department relating to an allegation at various employees of the Parks and Golf Division of the Community Services Department of the City of Palo Alto have played complimentary rounds of golf at the city owned golf course and have received discounts on food and merchandise at the golf course restaurant and pro shop.   An additional allegation that two members of the Parks and Golf Division made a day trip to Salt Lake City to evaluate an installation of playground equipment at the manufacture’s expense ($952) was also reviewed. At that time the Community Services Department was contemplating the purchase of similar equipment for installation in a City of Palo Alto park.   PALO ALTO MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE:   The City of Palo Alto has operated its municipal golf course through management and lease agreements with PGA Golf Professional Brad Lozares for many years. The current management agreement to operate the golf course was renewed on January 28, 2003, for a term ending June 30, 2006. The current lease to operate the pro shop was made on March 16, 1998, for a term commencing May 1, 1998, through April 30, 2013. The recitals in the current as well as previous management agreements includes the fact that GOLF PROFESSIONAL (Brad Lozares) is well qualified through experience to provide the golf professional services required in the agreements. Mr. Lozares was recognized by the Northern California Professional Golfers Association as the 2001 Professional of the Year. The golf course restaurant is operated through a lease between the city and R&T Restaurant Corporation.   Since 1982 all members of Palo Alto’s Golf Division have received complimentary rounds of golf. Golf Division employees receive a 20% discount on merchandise sold in the pro shop and food at the golf course restaurant. Complimentary golf ("Courtesy Play") at Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course has been institutionalized. The golf course management agreement provides in part: "The Director of Parks and Golf may in conjunction with GOLF PROFESSIONAL, develop reasonable rules and regulations governing the use of the Golf Course." The City of Palo Alto Department of Community Services Parks and Golf Division POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL provides in part:  
Courtesy Play:
  1. The purpose of Courtesy Play is:
    1. To establish professional courtesy extended procedurally
      to members of the golf industry. Acceptance and issuance
      of these courtesies are strictly governed through the code [sic]
      of Ethics established by each of these professional associations,
      and by this policy;
    2. To eliminate financial irregularities;
    3. To maintain knowledge of current golf course conditions by
      key staff members and Golf Division staff; and,
    4. To assist in promotion, marketing, and customer relations of
      the golf course within the community.

  2. The Parks and Golf Division, Superintendent of Golf, or the Golf Professional may only issue courtesy play. Prior notification is
    needed and courtesy play will only be extended on a space available basis. There are no guest privileges extended with this policy.

  3. Eligibility list:
    • Superintendent of Golf and Staff
    • Head PGA Professional and PGA Staff
    • Members of recognized professional golf industry associations (i.e., LPGA, PGA, GCSAA, and GCSANC) with the approval of the Superintendent of Golf or the Golf Professionals) may be granted courtesy play.
Paul Thiltgen is the Director of the Community Services Department. He is a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).  His duties include maintenance and operation of the golf course. Paul Dias is the Director of Parks and Golf in the Community Services Department. He is a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).  He reports to the Director of Community Services and is responsible for managing all facets of the golf course maintenance operations including mowing of tees, greens, aprons, fairways and rough; planting, fertilizing and spraying of turf, trees and ground covers; maintenance of the driving range and clubhouse areas; and course improvements. He directs golf course improvements and construction consistent with architectural integrity and playability of the ground cover. He develops profit and loss information for golf operations. He performs regular facility inspections and prepares reports. He develops and maintains positive relationships and communication with public golfers, golf clubs, the golf professional, restaurant contractor and Citizens’ Golf Advisory Committee. He also coordinates the golf course maintenance program with the golf professional on a regular basis. David Davies is the Golf Course Superintendent in the Parks and Golf Division of the Community Services Department. He reports to the Director of Parks and Golf Course. He is responsible for establishing and maintaining the efficient operation of the golf course, including analysis, observation, and evaluation of operations, conditions, and problems. He also monitors work performed by field supervision.   Pursuant to policy, the City of Palo Alto prints golf passes that entitle the bearer to a complimentary round of golf for two players and a golf cart. These passes have been distributed by the Golf Professional, the Director of Parks and Golf, and the Golf Course Superintendent. These passes do not conform to the POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL, referenced above, which states "[Pass] holders must pay for any cart fees or rental fees." Pursuant to the pro shop lease agreement between the City of Palo Alto and Brad Lozares (Golf Professional) the rates and prices charged for golf equipment and merchandise must be "fair and reasonable." The city is entitled to 4% of the gross sales of merchandise, except "employee discount purchases provided their transactions are made on a cost basis." (Emphasis added.) There are no other pricing restrictions in the lease agreement. The retail sale of golf equipment and related merchandise, including clothing, is a highly competitive business in pro shops, retail golf stores, mail order businesses, and on the internet. Consequently, discounting the price of such goods is common practice in the industry.   TRIP TO SALT LAKE CITY:   As stated above, Paul Dias is the Director of Parks and Golf in the Community Services Department. Catherine Rooney is a project manager in the Community Services Department. On Tuesday, November 19, 2002, they traveled by air to Salt Lake City to evaluate the quality and construction of installed playground equipment that was being considered by the City of Palo Alto for acquisition and installation in a city park. They departed San Francisco at 10:35 a.m. and returned the same day, arriving in San Francisco at 7:48 p.m. They were in Salt Lake City just over five hours. The travel ($952) was paid by HAGS, a major playground equipment manufacturer headquartered in Sweden. Although there appears to be a dispute between the City of Palo Alto Purchasing Department and the Community Services Department over the procedure used in attempting to purchase the referenced equipment, it also appears the trip was made in the course and scope of employment of Mr. Dias and Ms. Rooney and in good faith for the benefit of the community and they appreciated no personal gain from the trip. Mr. Dias reported it was a "cold, miserable day, but the trip was just something someone from the city had to do to verify the equipment. As it turned out, the HAGS equipment was better than the local equipment. It appeared they were using better materials, a better welding process and better nuts and bolts for assembly." He thought it was a better product, therefore, it cost more. He stated that based on the community’s desire and the approval of the quality, they decided to order the HAGS equipment.   FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS:   The Office of District Attorney has determined that no enforcement action is warranted by the office.  

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