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Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed Mark Nechodom, a senior adviser to the undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the husband of Secretary of State Debra Bowen, to be director of the California Department of Conservation, Brown's office announced today.

Nechodom, 56, replaces Derek Chernow, the acting director Brown fired last month.

Like Brown, Nechodom is a Democrat. He was previously acting director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Environmental Markets and senior climate policy adviser for the U.S. Forest Service.

The position, which requires Senate confirmation, pays $136,156 a year.

Chernow and Elena Miller, who oversaw oil drilling operations in California, were released amid conflict between the agency and oil producers about permitting, especially in Kern County.

Brown appointed Jason Marshall, 42, to be chief deputy director of the department, a position he has held before. Marshall, a registered independent, is to be paid $109,752 a year.


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