Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown taps staff member to sit on UC governing board

Gov. Jerry Brown discusses a bill with Legislative Deputy Brian Putler, right, Executive Secretary Nancy McFadden and Legislative Affairs Secretary Gareth Elliott, to Brown’s left, at his Capitol office on Sept. 21, 2012.
Gov. Jerry Brown discusses a bill with Legislative Deputy Brian Putler, right, Executive Secretary Nancy McFadden and Legislative Affairs Secretary Gareth Elliott, to Brown’s left, at his Capitol office on Sept. 21, 2012. AP

Locked in a budget battle with the University of California, Gov. Jerry Brown upped his presence on its governing board Friday, appointing a staff member from his own office to sit on the Board of Regents.

Gareth Elliott, who has been Brown’s legislative affairs secretary since 2011, becomes the latest appointment to a board wrangling with the governor over a tuition increase. In November, Brown tapped former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Eloy Ortiz Oakley, president of Long Beach City College, as regents. Days later – in the face of Brown’s opposition – the board voted to increase tuition by 5 percent a year for each of the next five years unless the state comes through with more funding.

UC President Janet Napolitano has argued that the university needs more money to maintain its quality, while Brown says that the university should focus on cutting costs. Funding for higher education is likely to be a hot-button issue in the Legislature this year, with Senate Democrats already floating a plan to eliminate UC’s tuition increase.

Elliott, the newest regent, becomes one of seven appointed by Brown. Elliott, 44, fills the last vacancy on the 26-member board. Before joining Brown’s office, he worked for then-Sen. Alex Padilla and then-Senate leader Don Perata.

Call Laurel Rosenhall, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1083. Follow her on Twitter @LaurelRosenhall.

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