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Governor Jerry Brown’s office very interested in CSAC affairs

By Zach Arnold | July 27, 2012

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Today, the Department of Consumer Affairs posted an agenda item on standard 10-days notice for an August 8th hearing to determine the next Executive Officer of the California State Athletic Commission. Right now, the safe money is that Kathi Burns, who DCA appointed from their staff ranks, will continue as Interim Executive Officer until a new name is found.

As we previously reported, the happenings at CSAC have curiously attracted the attention of the political heavyweights in Sacramento, both in the state Senate’s Rules Committee (Darrell Steinberg) & Governor Jerry Brown’s office. We reported that Governor Brown’s office allegedly relayed a message from the state Senate to the commissioners on the CSAC board that if they did not terminate George Dodd as Executive Officer of CSAC at the infamous June 26th meeting in El Monte, California that their terms at CSAC would end up expiring in retaliation. When George Dodd kept his job after the June 26th meeting, an exodus at CSAC happened. Linda Forster resigned, Brian Edwards resigned (before the El Monte hearing), and Mike Munoz saw his appointment from the Governor expire after a year.

Now comes word, on background from multiple sources, that Governor Jerry Brown’s senior adviser on policy & appointments is getting involved in CSAC affairs.

Josh Groban, a 38-year old lawyer from Los Angeles who worked for Governor Brown’s 2010 political campaign as legal counsel, is supposedly involved in the process of selecting candidates to become the next Executive Officer at CSAC. Groban, who worked for the law firm Munger, Tolles, and Olson LLP, is married to writer & producer Deborah Schoeneman.

Groban graduated from both Stanford & Harvard before going into legal practice. In the April 2011 of the Del Mar Sandpiper, the periodical featured a profile on Groban and his current role as senior adviser to Governor Brown:

Josh says he currently works in four main areas, (1)appointments to state positions including boards and commissions, (2)judicial appointments including the current opening on the state Supreme Court, (3) lawyering, and (4) policy advice on a variety of subjects. He interacts directly with Governor Brown regularly, knowing that in every conversation “you are challenged…he is the smartest boss I’ve ever had (think Harvard constitutional lawyers)…he is very intellectually curious with an air tight memory…nice thing to be able to say that about the Governor of california.”

Here is the California tax record snapshot for Josh in the last couple of years:

Groban has been allegedly making phone calls directly to various individuals who he sees as potential candidates for the Executive Officer slot at CSAC.

There are two burning questions, given this development, that makes this whole process so mystifying:

1) Why are the most powerful political players in Sacramento so interested in what is going on at an athletic commission, one of the lowest boards at the Department of Consumer Affairs?

2) Why would anyone think that appointing an outsider and bringing them into the buzz-saw known as DCA will work? DCA is one of the most politically-charged atmospheres of state bureaucracy known to man in California. The people working at DCA have demonstrated an abhorrent track record of vindictiveness and viciousness. DCA is the same government behemoth that confiscates computer equipment from individuals without a search warrant and does so without fear of actually being challenged in court.

Technically, the Department of Consumer Affairs is under the umbrella of the Governor’s office. However, the behavior by those at DCA is nothing short of corrosive. The Governor’s office lobbied hard to get Denise Brown to the top spot at DCA, but she’s not going to clean up the mess there. She’s part of the problem. She started out at DCA in 1977!

As for what is going on, criminally-speaking, with the current Executive Officer at the Pest Control Board and the former Executive Officer of CSAC (Bill Douglas)… we will have the court filing for you in a couple of days. On background, I have been told by an investigative source that the charges filed revolve around CSAC affairs.

What makes the news about Governor Brown’s office getting involved in the process of selecting candidates for the Executive Officer position at CSAC so maddening is that it highlights just how emasculated the commission is now. Instead of CSAC being able to hire their own legal counsel through the State Personnel Board, DCA’s legal department has been manipulating CSAC for years by controlling the legal advice given to CSAC board members. On top of that, CSAC being attached to DCA means that DCA’s bean-counters and budget fixers have complete control over issues related to spending. This allows them to go around to others and make claims that simply aren’t challenged and/or aren’t factually correct.

There was a time when CSAC was autonomous and ran affairs on their own before the DCA’s tentacles got attached. If Governor Brown’s office really wanted to help clean up affairs at CSAC, they would be pushing for CSAC to be removed from DCA. If the Governor’s office is going to get this involved in CSAC affairs now, then they should just set up CSAC to immediately report to Governor Brown and get out of the quagmire known as Consumer Affairs.

Topics: Boxing, CSAC, MMA, Media, Zach Arnold | 1 Comment » | Permalink | Trackback |

One Response to “Governor Jerry Brown’s office very interested in CSAC affairs”

  1. [...] office appoints her to another DCA board (the Board of Behavioral Sciences). On July 27th, we reported that Governor Brown’s office is involved in the process of recruiting candidates to become the next Executive Officer of CSAC and that the man involved (Josh Groban) was Jerry [...]

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