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Governor replaces panel chairman who had called for lawmaker pay cuts

April 13, 2011 | 11:59 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown has replaced the chairman of a state commission who had called for stripping state lawmakers of their cars and cutting their salaries, making the change on the eve of the panel’s possible vote on the compensation and perks.

Chuck Murray, the outspoken head of the California Citizens Compensation Commission, said he received a call from the governor’s office  late Wednesday night to say he was being replaced as chairman by one of two new appointees named to the panel a few hours earlier. Murray, a Los Angeles insurance company operator appointed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, remains on the seven-person commission which holds its annual meeting Thursday in Burbank to set the compensation of elected state officials.

Brown’s decision to replace a chairman who wanted to cut compensation for legislators comes as the governor is wooing Republican lawmakers to vote for his proposal to put an extension of taxes on the state ballot.

Brown has not taken a public position on whether legislators and other elected officials should have their pay and benefits cut.

“It is the commission’s responsibility to decide these matters,” said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for Brown.

It was not clear late Wednesday which of Brown’s new appointees would take over as head of the commission. Brown filled two vacancies on the commission by appointing Thomas Dalzell, business manager for IBEW Local 1245 and a resident of Berkeley, and  Wilma Wallace,  vice president and deputy general counsel of Gap Inc. and a resident of Oakland.

--Patrick McGreevy