In the wake of a financial scandal at state parks, Gov. Jerry Brown tapped retired U.S. Marine Corps Major General Anthony L. Jackson to run the beleaguered department, he announced today.
Jackson, 63, served 36 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, most recently in charge of installations in the Southwest. He has worked with state and federal officials on renewable energy, fire suppression, state parks and off-highway vehicle use, according to Brown's office.
His appointment comes after the July resignation of longtime California Department of Parks and Recreation Director Ruth Coleman following a discovery that parks administrators had hidden more than $50 million. That revelation came after state investigators found parks officials conducted an unauthorized leave buyback program, using a surplus of cash that was never reported to the Department of Finance.
"Major General Jackson brings more than thirty years of problem-solving and management experience to Parks, serving most recently as the Commanding General of Marine bases across the Southwestern U.S. and tens of thousands of troops and civilians," Brown said in a statement. "Under Major General Jackson's leadership, I am confident that the stewardship of California's beaches, forests, estuaries, dunes and wetlands is in good hands and that the confidence and trust of Californians in our Parks Department will be restored."
Jackson is registered as a decline-to-state voter and will earn $150,112 annually as parks director.