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Jerry Brown reorganization plan leaves plum political appointees in place

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Days before his updated budget is set to be released, Gov. Jerry Brown announced a proposal to consolidate pieces of the bureaucracy that he said would save “millions of taxpayer dollars.” But it would do nothing to impact some generous, long-term appointments doled out by his predecessors.

Brown will seek legislation to fold the state’s Department of Personnel Administration and State Personnel Board into a new California Department of Human Resources. The two organizations handle different pieces of the state’s payroll administration.

The State Personnel Board is made up of appointees who serve 10-year terms. Four of the five members of the current board were appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, including his former chief of staff, Patricia Clarey and his former legislative secretary, Richard Costigan. Board members receive a annual salary of $40,669, according to Brown spokesman Evan Westrup –- up to $406,690 over the course of a 10-year term. Brown’s plan would not eliminate the board, Westrup said, because it is protected by the state Constitution.

“This reorganization does not –- cannot –- change that,” says a report from Brown’s office released Tuesday.

Brown’s plan does not call for board salaries to be reduced.

The consolidation would not save the state any money in this budget year, or in the fiscal year that begins July 1. A statement from Brown’s office said the reorganization would take place in July 2012, saving the state up to $5.8 million by eliminating 15% to 20% of the staff at the two agencies. Brown’s office said they thought the staff cuts could be reached through attrition and would not require any layoffs of public employees.

“To the extent feasible given the existing conditions of the state budget, there will be no layoffs, and positions abolished or reduced under this reorganization shall be done through attrition,” the administration said.

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-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown signs a budget bill in March. Credit: Ken James / Bloomberg

 
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