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Calif. governor picks retired Marine as new head of state parks

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Jerry Brown has chosen retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Anthony Jackson to run the state Parks and Recreation Department.

Jackson takes the helm of a department that was rocked by financial scandal this summer that led to the resignation of longtime Director Ruth Coleman and other top department officials. Parks officials had squirreled away more than $54 million without informing the governor’s office, even as dozens of parks had been slated for closure because of budget cuts.

The governor alluded to the scandal in his comments praising Jackson on Tuesday. “Under Maj. Gen. Jackson’s leadership, I am confident that the stewardship of California’s beaches, forests, estuaries, dunes and wetlands is in good hands,” Brown said in a statement, “and that the confidence and trust of Californians in our Parks Department will be restored.”

Jackson, 63, served in the Marine Corps for 36 years, most recently as the commanding general of Marine bases in the Southwestern United States. In his new post, he will oversee more than 280 parks that cover about 1.4 million acres, 15,000 campsites and 3,000 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Resources Secretary John Laird said Jackson’s Marine Corps experience will prove valuable in his new position.

“He has direct experience protecting cultural resources on sensitive U.S. government land, directing environmental scientists, and integrating military and civilian personnel,” Laird said.

Jackson’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation. He will be paid $150,112.
 

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