The State Worker

Jerry Brown taps pension-reform proponent for high-level post

Gov. Jerry Brown has named a government official who defended pension rollbacks for current employees to be deputy secretary at the new California Government Operations Agency.

Stuart Drown is leaving his post as executive director of the Little Hoover Commission. In 2011, he drew fire when the 12-member panel issued a report urging lawmakers to corral public pension costs by freezing accrued benefits for current employees and move them into less-generous plans going forward. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed cites the commission’s report as inspiration for the public pension proposal he’s trying to put on the November 2014 statewide ballot.

A week after the commission issued its report, Drown defended it during a Mar. 2, 2011 legislative hearing. Here’s a Bee clip of Drown fielding questions from skeptical Democrats:

The commission later supported Brown’s ambitious government reorganization plans which included creating the Government Operations Agency. Drown displayed a keen understanding of the bureaucracy and government culture during that process and at one point was rumored as a candidate for the operations agency secretary position eventually filled by Marybel Batjer.

Drown has been executive director of the Little Hoover Commission since 2006. Before that, he worked as an editor at The Sacramento Bee for seven years, his last stop in a journalism career that started in 1986. A registered Democrat, he holds a master’s in public policy from UC Berkeley. His new position pays $127,884 per year and does not require Senate confirmation.

The administration also announced that Timothy Gorsuch has been appointed director at the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, where he has worked since 1993. Gorsuch, a Republican, also served in the California Army National Guard from 1983 to 2004. His new post, which requires Senate confirmation, pays $143,424 per year.

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