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Posted by . on November 25, 2003 at 11:51:16:

In Reply to: News: Governor appoints Chrisman as Director of F&G posted by Chris on November 22, 2003 at 12:21:08:

Great Valley board tapped


SACRAMENTO -- When former Modesto Mayor Carol Whiteside told Gov. Schwarzenegger that she did not want to leave the Great Valley Center to be secretary of the Resources Department, Schwarzenegger did not stray far from the Modesto-based think tank.

He picked the chairman of the board, Mike Chrisman, to run the $5 billion agency. Chrisman is a Visalia rancher and Southern California Edison manager for the San Joaquin Valley.

Chrisman is the second Great Valley Center board member appointed by Schwarzenegger to a Cabinet post. The other is Kimberly Belshé, Health and Human Services secretary. She has worked for the James Irvine Foundation, one of the center's early backers.

"I guess we have a nest of policy wonks," said Whiteside, the center's president and founder, on Monday. "These are all people I've worked with. It's an experienced team."

Founded in 1997, the Great Valley Center focuses on growth and conservation issues in the Central Valley, a main staple of a Resources Department that deals with state parks, logging, water resources and wildlife habitat.

Whiteside, a Resources Department official under Gov. Wilson, was asked to interview for the post but expressed reservations about moving to Sacramento.

"He didn't make me an offer and I didn't turn it down," said Whiteside, who met with Schwarzenegger this month about the appointment. "It was a great honor to be considered."

Whiteside said Monday that she finds the nonprofit sector more "nimble and less constrained" than working in government bureaucracy.

"I have this great place to work and a great staff that I have built up over the last six years," she said. "It's not something you give up easily."

Plus, she still maintains a pipeline to the governor's office.

She called Chrisman a "solid guy" who understands the pressures of population growth in the Central Valley and will present a balanced approach to regulatory issues.

Chrisman is vice president of the California Fish and Game Commission, a former member of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board and a past director of the California Farm Bureau Federation.

He previously held positions in the Resources Department, and the state Department of Food and Agriculture.

"Mike's strong business and government management experience coupled with his proven track record in resource conservation will be invaluable to my administration," Schwarzenegger said in a news release.

And, at the same time that Great Valley Center directors are moving into state government, Whiteside announced that a former state official is coming the other way -- joining the Great Valley Center board.

He is Lon Hatamiya, former secretary of the state Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency.

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