Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 27, 2012
AM Alert: Musical chairs

VIDEO: The votes are still being counted in the 2012 election, but Dan Walters raises the green flag on the 2014 contests.

The last few months have been a game of musical chairs on California's higher education scene, as officials fill vacancies created by the retirements of three big deal chancellors: Jack Scott, head of the 110-campus California Community College system; Charles Reed, head of the 23-campus California State University and Robert J. Birgeneau, head of University of California, Berkeley.

In September, we saw Brice W. Harris, former head of the Los Rios Community College District, take over as chancellor of the statewide community college office. Earlier this month, UC Riverside Chancellor Timothy P. White announced he would leave to take the top position at CSU (where he asked for a 10 percent pay cut). And today, the musical chairs continues as University of California regents vote for an interim chancellor to fill White's position at UC Riverside and a new chancellor for UC Berkeley.

UC President Mark G. Yudof is recommending Nicholas B. Dirks as the 10th chancellor of UC Berkeley and Jane Close Conoley as acting chancellor of UC Riverside. Dirks is an executive vice president at Columbia University in New York and dean of its faculty for Arts and Sciences. Conoley is the dean of UC Santa Barbara's Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. Compensation packages for both will be made public after regents consider the appointments in closed session at 11 a.m.

COASTAL COMMISH: Speaking of musical chairs, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez has appointed a new member to the California Coastal Commission to replace outgoing commissioner Mark Stone, a Santa Cruz Democrat who will be sworn in to the Assembly on Monday. The new Coastal Commissioner is Carole Groom, a San Mateo County Supervisor.

NEW JOB: Michele Pielsticker has joined the state Board of Equalization as Legislative and Research Division chief. Previously, she was an attorney with Sutherland Asbill and Brennan and general counsel to the California Taxpayers' Association. She has also been a consultant to the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee. Pielsticker replaces Margaret Shedd, who has retired.

LAW & ORDER: Under the dome today, the Little Hoover Commission holds a public safety hearing with panels on jail constraints, bail schedules and sentencing reform.


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