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Brown To Cut Education Post, First Lady’s Office

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Jerry Brown, as California Governor-elect, with wife Anne Gust, former chief counsel for The Gap stores (AP)

Jerry Brown, as California Governor-elect, with wife Anne Gust, former chief counsel for The Gap stores (AP)

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that he is eliminating the Secretary of Education position and slashing the governor’s office by 25 percent as he tries to make good on a campaign promise to cut government spending.

The Democratic governor said he’s also returning most of the $770,000 allocated for the changeover to his administration from that of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He said he only spent $120,000 for the gubernatorial transition.

All the savings add up to $7 million, just a fraction of the projected $28 billion state shortfall through June 2012. But Brown said he has to start somewhere.

“California is facing a huge deficit, and it is necessary to find savings throughout all of government,” Brown said in a statement. “We all have to make cuts, and I’m starting with my own office.”

Brown is scheduled to release his budget plan for the 2011-2012 fiscal year on Monday, and he has forecast deep, across-the-board cuts to many state programs, as well as a government restructuring.

He said he would trim $4.5 million out of the $18 million budget for the governor’s office by cutting staff in the Washington, D.C. office; closing field offices in San Diego, Fresno, and Riverside; and cutting communications staff.

He also said he is eliminating the position of cabinet secretary and all deputy cabinet secretaries.

Brown also said he would eliminate the first lady’s office. He previously announced that his wife, Anne Gust Brown, would serve as an unpaid adviser.

He already announced he would cut the inspector general’s office overseeing stimulus funding.

The administration estimated it will save another $1.9 million by eliminating the education secretary’s office.

The secretary acted as the governor’s chief liaison to the appointed state Board of Education but the position was a revolving door under the Schwarzenegger administration, partly because the office had limited authority over schools and education policy.

(© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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