The California State Senate Rules Committee has named Senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, to the California State Parks and Recreation Commission. Pavley represents the 27th Senate District, which includes the western half of the Santa Clarita Valley.
This marks the first time a sitting State Senator has been appointed to this body. Senator Pavley will occupy an ex officio post on the Commission, which means that she cannot vote on policy matters, but will attend meetings and advise the other Commissioners.
“California State Parks are both an important part of our heritage and an economic engine, drawing millions of visitors each year,” said Senator Pavley. “I look forward to this opportunity to help keep our Parks system strong for generations to come.”
The Commission is responsible for approving specific plans and policies for properties under the State Parks system, and making recommendations to the Parks Director. Senator Pavley had an opportunity to welcome new Parks Director Major General Anthony Jackson (USMC-retired) when he visited her Capitol office with Natural Resources Secretary John Laird in January.
The State Assembly will also name an ex officio member. These posts were added to the Commission in the wake of last year’s discovery of millions of dollars hidden in a pair of accounts within the Parks Department. This incident prompted the resignation of the previous Parks director and the departure of numerous staff members.
“We are pleased with the appointment,” said Roy Stearns, Deputy Director for Communications with the Department of Parks and Recreation. “She has always been a strong park supporter and we look forward to working with her.”
“As a park user, a Californian, and a legislator, Senator Pavley brings years of expertise and leadership on state parks issues to the Commission,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, President of the California State Parks Foundation. “We look forward to continuing our work with Senator Pavley and her colleagues as the Commission forges a new and more proactive role on behalf of our parks.”
As chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee—a post she has held since she was first elected to the Senate in 2008—Pavley oversees the Parks Department for the Senate. A longtime supporter of State Parks, Senator Fran Pavley organized community support to keep Los Encinos State Park open after cuts to the Parks budget.
Last year, Senator Pavley helped usher through a reform package of bills designed to strengthen the Parks system and ensure its long-term future. This included introducing budget language mandating a two-year continuous appropriation from the State Parks and Recreation Fund and other sources of money to pay for maintenance and upgrades at State Parks. The language also prohibits the state from closing any parks before mid-2014.