Manning Park Caretaker Cottage Now Occupied by Highly Paid Employee?

County-owned home at 1480 Schoolhouse Road (courtesy)

I’m curious what edhat readers think about this. The County of Santa Barbara Park’s Department used to embrace the Resident Ranger Program, which offered extended coverage and affordable housing for the County’s Park Rangers.

In exchange for an additional 20 hours of work and site maintenance, the County would allow caretakers to live in a county-owned home rent free. The Resident Ranger and longtime caretaker at Manning Park retired from a 49-year career leaving the county-owned residence at 1480 Schoolhouse Road vacant.

Per county records and requested information (edhat has copies), the house is now currently occupied by the Park Operations Supervisor for South County Parks. In addition to being one of the most highly paid people at County Parks, this public employee doesn’t have any responsibilities at Manning Park nor does he pay rent. Instead, Manning Park is utilizing a Park Host that handles all the security, administrative, and custodial duties.

So I’m curious… what do edhat readers think about this?

Screenshot of an answer by the County of Santa Barbara to a public records request dated February 5, 2024 regarding the residence at 1480 Schoolhouse Road inside Manning Park (submitted by an edhat reader)

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    • Lloyd Henning is the current Park Operations Supervisor for South County Parks, per the county’s website. County salary, pension, benefits and now a free place to live in Montecito surrounded by nature, all funded by the residents of Santa Barbara County.

  1. what??!?! How on earth is he getting away with this? this is so wrong. we have people working multiple jobs to afford a freakin’ one bedroom (crappy) apartment in town with $3000 rental prices and this guy is making alot of money on the tax payers dime, and living rent free? What gives him the right to be rent free in the county? Because he works at a park? He’s a park ranger, rangers make very good money. without looking into his financial situation, i can already say he doesn’t qualify for free rent. I’m a single parent of two teens and work two jobs just to put a roof over their heads. Then there are people like Lloyd Henning, who just takes takes takes. Pal, i don’t approve of my taxes paying your rent.

      • Has everything to do with how county employees can work the system.
        There are at least 10 Rangers who DON’T get a free home at the beach.
        What about them?
        My wife was a part time ranger back in the 90’s and wasn’t even allowed to camp without standing in line with the tourists,

  2. Since he is getting this free from his employer (the County), the County should be including the $ value of this at market rent added to his salary when he gets his W-2 at tax time. But I’ll bet they don’t do that.

  3. Remember, government is no longer “of the people, by the people, for the people” as Lincoln stated.
    It’s a massive self-propagating entity for career politicians and entrenched bureaucrats to further their careers enabled by those with sufficient time and money to lobby them.
    We voters/taxpayers only pay the bills.

  4. This op ed is a valuable service. We need answers from responsible officials. Things may not be as described but we have the right to know and minimally the 1st District Board Member should respond along with the County Administrative Officer.

  5. The funniest part about this is that The County loves to scream about “affordable housing” but they got rid of the resident ranger program a decade ago, which provided affordable housing to those who protect and take care of our county parks. Now these middle class employees mostly commute from Lompoc, Santa Maria or Oxnard, when they could be spending more time in the parks and be present 24/7 for questions or emergencies. The framework is all there, just bring back the program. It’s a win-win for everybody.

  6. Agree with all the above, and it’s funny that none of the very frequent Edhat posters who have liberal attitudes haven’t chimed in. They know who they are, and no doubt they’ve read this. Total sham.

    • None of them haven’t chimed in, so they’ve all chimed in … cool.

      ” posters who have liberal attitudes”

      You used to claim that you weren’t a right winger … at least you’ve dropped that charade. Still you remain the most despicable troll here, even worse than Chalf, CW, et. al.

          • Just read the last two posts. I’m responding to Dalgorf’s post. It’s straightforward as can be. He seems to think one is either ultra liberal or a “con”. I’m neither, as are tons of folks. I’m not interested in an all night argument with anyone here who has nothing to do tonight.

              • Glad you asked. On the liberal side of things, I’d say Reproductive rights, corporate regulation/oversight, environmental protection (but don’t think Sierra Club, etc ‘shut it down’ ultra-liberal), limiting defense spending, healthcare, and religion – as examples. I’m more conservative with regards to taxation and spending, fiscal responsibility of government at all levels, education (the ultra-liberal trend is out of control there in particular in my opinion), personal responsibility, immigration, and the economy – as examples.

                I’m a Moderate. Remember that term? There’s a middle ground out there. It’s often hard to see these days though, I get it.

                  • Interesting? Huh. So, your and several other very liberal and frequent posters’ assumptions aren’t correct at all. Interesting? I’d say it’s a lot more than that. It’s silly actually the kinds of labels some toss around. It’s at best unproductive and at worst the main problem our government isn’t working…complete division and name calling.

                    Yeah, there’s a bunch of Trumper types out there. Just as there are a bunch of extreme left wingers. I’m not either. Shocking to you!

                    • Yeah, interesting. There you go again complaining that I’m not saying enough in response to your comments…… weird.

                      And no, not as “shocking” as you think your news is as I’ve actually agreed with you on some things. But you can’t say you’re not extreme right on many issues – Covid, homeless, immigration, racial issues, etc. Your words, once again, are the fodder for peoples’ thoughts about you and your beliefs. No mysteries…..

                • Yet the majority of your comments heavily lean towards right-wing extremism. I can’t stand the “social liberal, fiscal conservative” nonsense people identify as, that cannot exist together, they cancel each other out.

                  • To quote:

                    “I’d say it’s a lot more than that. It’s silly actually the kinds of labels some toss around. It’s at best unproductive and at worst the main problem our government isn’t working…complete division and name calling.”


    • Show us the agreement with the County that he lives there for free. Show us him stating that he lives there for free. Show a County official stating that he lives there for free. Show us the proof that he has no duties at the park. All we have is an anonymous statement. Or just stay mad.

      • More importantly though, BASIC, given the apparent dispute in the facts here, I’ve avoided jumping to conclusions like you and the others here. If confirmed this is accurate, then of course it would be unjust and would reek of corruption. Really strange you would think my opinion would have been different. There it is.

  7. Why don’t people check their facts before you start spreading lies and causing drama? He does pay rent which was put into the new contract when he moved in, he does do extra things for the park and on his own time, and the info about the host and what they do is also wrong. He has worked many hard years to get to the position he is now in, he did not just walk in and get things handed to him! He started at the very bottom! Grow up people and check your facts!!!

  8. Certainly the facts on this situation will come out and if the county and the employee didn’t cover themselves with an opinion from counsels office, board approval, contracts, and other expectations of transparency… problems are likely to arise – hopefully it’s all on the up and up. Hate to see someone who worked hard lose a career over stupidity that was winked at by their superiors but not appropriately blessed. I think Manning is pretty well run btw. Caretakers living at parks was more a 20th century thing when parks were just open to the public. Like the schools, parks have a lot of administration now too. Much to the detriment of everyone – look at what SB Parks wanted to do to fence and run the public away from Ortega Park so they can operate it as a quasi private club for special groups. Then when the budget gets tight governments are loathe to dump overpriced admins – can’t interrupt their path to the first retirement and the next government job – then they have to close them because they can’t afford to cut the grass or clean the toilet. But the admins still get a raise. Not sure why the house wasn’t just rented on the open market but there may be a good reason for that too.

    • It looks like a funky old cottage, probably 2 bedroom and a bath. I don’t think you’re getting 8k a month for that.

      But they could get a couple million for the lot, the County should sell it. It is of no benefit to the taxpayers.

  9. Of all the county parks and camp sites, why on Earth would we need a resident, onsite ranger/host or now operations manager at Manning? Has there been any other response or explanation from the County? The responses above could be leaving out important details, but I really don’t see how anything would justify this.

  10. Waiting for Noozhawk and Independent to weigh in with professional journalism on this, now that the offices are open and the ptb can respond. But it looks like a completely avoidable shit show is coming. FMV rent equivalency is at least 8k – 10k – someone waiting to move into a house they are remodeling while putting the kids in MUS will pull that with no problem whatsoever. Probably 12/15k a month just for the summer: it’s all location location location. The document also states it was renovated recently? And the FTB & IRS will have their own calculations as well because there is also probably a tax bill coming. Will the unions and labor lawyers be filing discrimination claims and class action lawsuits for all the other county employees who didn’t get a free house? why not convert it to a 2 story 4 unit workforce apartment if you’ve got the space for Christ’s sake. 120k ranger positions are not the chancellor of UCSB and they do not and should not come with subsidized or free housing.

  11. If this all holds as true, supes should be looking at permanently removing at least 2 supervisory positions from Parks, consolidating other high level positions and making overall management of the department efficient, and also a permanent disposition for the house. Potential benefit to taxpayers of $1 million or more within a year by getting rid of wasteful over-administration and using public assets correctly.

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