By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Schwarzenegger is personally behind this, and the plan moves to its next fallback deadline, of June 30. All this has been shrouded in secrecy, perhaps unnecessarily.
So far, the Schwarzenegger administration is at least as secretive as the Davis administration.
CPR spokesman Pete DuFor says that the quest for greater efficiencies in the delivery of services, though a long-term process, is “coming along well” and that there will be a myriad of recommendations by June 30. CPR experts have fanned out throughout the government, examining how things are done and soliciting ideas.
Many have been fearful about the restructuring part of the CPR, partly on the basis of a Schwarzenegger comment in the campaign in which he seemed to say he would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency. Top environmentalists had feared that environmental functions would all be subsumed in a superagency that would include the existing Food & Agriculture agency. They doubted that, in such an agency, highly regarded Environmental Secretary Terry Tamminen, who was opposed in the first place by some of the old Pete Wilson crowd, would come out on top.
But, as you’ll see, that won’t happen.
Nearly 100 departments and agencies would be folded into 11 omnibus agencies, the heads of which would serve in the governor’s Cabinet. In addition, the state’s finance department, tax board, information services and retirement programs would be part of a new Office of Management & Budget. This would be overseen by the Governor’s Office.
The state’s largest agency, Business, Transportation & Housing, now headed by Sunne McPeak, would be eliminated. But it would be replaced by a powerful new omnibus agency on Infrastructure (which McPeak would likely head), which would be in charge of all planning and programs on housing, transportation, and water and energy facilities, cutting through an alphabet soup and eliminating the state’s Energy Commission and Power Authority in the process.
Food & Agriculture would not be part of the same agency as Environmental Protection. Each would retain separate functions, along with a Resource Management agency not unlike the one today. But many boards and commissions would become divisions of these omnibus agencies, as would be the case with the rest of the new regime.
The other omnibus agencies would be Education & Workforce Preparation, Labor & Economic Development, Health & Human Services, Public Safety & Homeland Security (picking up the Highway Patrol from the old Business, Transportation & Housing), Military & Veterans Affairs, Commerce & Consumer Protection (also picking up from the old Business agency), and a new Corrections Commission running the reeling state prisons and Youth Authority operations.
With all this still on the drawing board, Schwarzenegger has moved to eliminate only one agency so far, the Power Authority, which during the campaign he seemed at times to believe was an attempt by state government to run the electricity market, which it is not. Ironically, his legislation to kill it has resulted in a rare victory for Angelides, as it has failed to get out of legislative committees. With an overall plan, Schwarzenegger may just be more successful.