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Brown draws from different eras to fill key staff positions

January 5, 2011 |  4:54 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown filled key senior staff and cabinet posts Wednesday and replaced seven Arnold Schwarzenegger appointees to the State Board of Education.

The governor selected people who have served under him throughout his more than 40 years in public life, including veterans of the Gray Davis and Schwarzenegger administrations, career state bureaucrats, high-level corporate executives, longtime Brown loyalists -- and even Brown’s own wife.

Among Brown’s picks were his top aide in the attorney general’s office, a former schools superintendent who resigned after being convicted of four felonies, an air board chief who held the same post under Brown and Schwarzenegger, and a press aide from Brown’s days as Oakland mayor.

All 20 of the appointments announced Wednesday went to Democrats.

The governor opted to break from recent tradition, not naming a chief of staff. Jim Humes, 51, will be his executive secretary. Brown said that he chose not to give anyone the chief of staff title but that the executive secretary would be the rough equivalent. Humes was Brown’s chief deputy in the attorney general’s office.

Like Schwarzenegger, Brown will make space for his wife in the governor's office. He appointed Anne Gust Brown as special counsel, but she will not receive a state salary.

Nancy McFadden, a former PG&E senior vice president, will be the governor’s top liaison with the Legislature. McFadden previously worked as a senior advisor to Gov. Gray Davis.

Another Brown aide from the attorney general’s office, Jonathan Renner, will be the governor’s legal affairs secretary.

Gil Duran, who was a Brown spokesman in the Oakland mayor’s office before becoming communications director for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), will be the governor's press secretary.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento