In a ‘damned-if-you-do & damned-if-you-don’t move’, Gov. Arnie eliminated the Integrated Waste Management Board. That has been on the radar for years as one of the most wasteful boards at the state level – and being the MOST wasteful among that elite group of wastrels isn’t easy. Now it appears the symbolic move to root out state agency waste and inefficiency may actually cost us more. Well what a shock, eh?
Actually even if it costs us a few mil, it’ll be good to know that such sucklings at the public trough as Sheila Kuehl & Carol Migden might be forced into actual jobfullness in the private sector. Well, that’s probably asking too much, but still…
Is it a great and wonderful move? Only if it is the first of many boards, agencies, commissions, committees and the like that Arnold promised to chop or consolidate during his first term. Hasn’t happened yet – still hope. So if they drop or mingle about 120 more boards, ad hoc committees, advisory groups and the like, it will have been worth it. If this is just a single act for purely political reasons, well it’s probably still worth it.
Gov. Schwarzenegger’s move to eliminate the state’s Integrated Waste Management Board led to a fierce, behind-the-scenes battle at the highest levels of the bureaucracy. The tensions flared not over removing the board but over turf and money – the transfer of millions of dollars of fees from the state’s Environmental Protection Agency to a department within the Natural Resources Agency.
The six-member board, created in a deal struck by former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, a Democrat, and former Gov. George Deukmejian, a Republican, has long been criticized as a soft landing for termed-out lawmakers and friends of the powerful. It has become a public target of the governor, who says it epitomizes government waste.
Current board members -there is one vacancy on the panel — earn $132,178 annually. All political appointees, they include three former Democratic lawmakers – former Sens. Sheila Kuehl of Santa Monica and Carole Migden of San Francisco, and former Assemblyman John Laird of Santa Cruz. Former appointees included Deukmejian’s chief of staff and budget writer, ex-lawmakers and and spouses of Sacramento’s power players.
The board, which directs a 450-member, $235 million state operation, regulates the permitting and inspections of nearly 300 landfills across the state that handle some 42 million tons of garbage annually, and has a number of recycling programs
Legislation signed by Schwarzenegger eliminated the board and transferred its functions to a new department within the Resources Agency, which is headed by Mike Chrisman, a Cabinet-level environmental adviser. Bills to do just that were authored by Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, SB 63; and Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, D-Lodi, AB 181.
Schwarzenegger has said elimination of the board was at the top of his priority list. “That’s on the top of the list – the most absurd one because it costs the most money because people are sitting there with $132,000, or whatever, salaries,” Schwarzenegger said last month in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle.