Gov.-elect Jerry Brown has made much since his election of the inevitable cost-cutting he will do to help get the state's budget in line. One of the first casualties: the stimulus watchdog office of Inspector General Laura Chick.
Chick sent an open letter this afternoon explaining that she had heard from Brown's transition team that the position will be eliminated Jan. 1. Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger created the office and appointed Chick as its leader in April 2009.
Schwarzenegger had proposed making the office permanent but was shot down by the Legislature. As the Los Angeles Times points out, the office's $2.8 million budget was made part of the governor's office, which Brown has repeatedly vowed to cut.
"The Governor-elect faces an extremely difficult job in grappling with the severity of the state budget crisis," Chick wrote in her letter. "He received an overwhelming mandate by the voters to make tough decisions, and I wish him the very best during the months ahead."
Chick, who first made her name as a councilwoman and city controller in Los Angeles, has put out a number of reports about subjects ranging from the state's high-speed rail system to local redevelopment authorities. She highlighted several accomplishments in her letter:
"From High Speed Rail to county social service programs, from Redding to San Bernardino, we unearthed problems and made commonsense recommendations for improvement. In less than a year since my office attained a strike team of auditors, we have released 27 reports uncovering 100 issues and making 48 recommendations for change."
In a statement, Brown said eliminating the office would save the state $700,000. The office was designed to expire at the end of June 2011, and audits underway by the office will be completed by other agencies.
“In response to the state’s multi-billion dollar budget deficit, Governor-elect Jerry Brown will be streamlining operations and eliminating redundancies in the Governor’s Office and throughout state government," Jim Humes, who is coordinating Brown's transition team, said in the statement.