Announcements regarding key staffing changes of importance to California's rural counties.
Karen Douglas, of Davis, has been appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission. Douglas has been Senior Advisor for Energy in the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom since 2022. She was a California Energy Commission Member from 2008 to 2022. Douglas was Director of the California Climate Initiative for the Environmental Defense Fund from 2005 to 2008. She held several positions at the Planning and Conservation League from 2001 to 2005, including Acting Executive Director and General Counsel. Douglas earned a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School and a Master of Public Policy degree in Environmental Policy from the University of Colorado Boulder. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $187,936. Douglas is a Democrat.
Grant Parks, of Rocklin, has been appointed State Auditor at the California State Auditor’s Office. Parks has been a Principal Manager of Audit Services at the Judicial Council of California since 2016. He held several positions at the California State Auditor’s Office from 1999 to 2016, including Principal Auditor and Audit Team Leader. Parks earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Davis. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $232,858. Parks is registered without party preference.
Kenneth J. Pogue, of Shingle Springs, has been reappointed Director of the Office of Administrative Law, where he has served in that position since 2019. Pogue was Undersecretary of Administration of Offender Services at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 2015 to 2019. He was Assistant Secretary at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Office of Legislation from 2013 to 2015. Pogue served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 1999 to 2008. He was an Associate at the Law Offices of Porter, Scott, Weiberg and Delehant from 1997 to 1999, a Contract Attorney at the Law Office of Robert Tronvig in 1997 and a Contract District Attorney in the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office in 1996. Pogue earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $199,740. Pogue is a Democrat.
Brent Reden, of El Dorado Hills, has been appointed Deputy Director and Chief Counsel at the California Department of State Hospitals. Reden has been Deputy Chief Counsel at the Department of State Hospitals since 2014. He was a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 2008 to 2014. He was a Partner at Kring & Chung LLP from 2006 to 2007. He was Senior Associate at the Hughes Law Firm from 2001 to 2006. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $211,332. Reden is registered without party preference.
Laura Rodriguez, of El Dorado Hills, has been appointed Senior Policy Director at the State Board of Education. Rodriguez has been Senior Director of Government Relations for the College Board since 2013. She was Director of West Coast Government and External Relations at Educational Testing Service from 2005 to 2013. She was Legislative Director for Office of Assemblymember Barbara Matthews from 2002 to 2005 and a Legislative Assistant at Birdsall, Wasco & Associates from 2000 to 2002. Rodriguez is a member of the Inside California Education Advisory Board. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $155,040. Rodriguez is a Democrat.
Judge Shama Hakim Mesiwala, of Yolo County, has been nominated to serve as an Associate Justice of the Third District Court of Appeal. She has served as a Judge at the Sacramento County Superior Court since 2017 and was a Commissioner there in 2017. Judge Mesiwala has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Davis School of Law since 2013. She was a Judicial Attorney at the Third District Court of Appeal from 2004 to 2017, where she served as a Senior Judicial Attorney for the Honorable Ronald B. Robie from 2006 to 2017 and as a Central Staff Attorney from 2004 to 2006. Judge Mesiwala served as a Staff Attorney at the Central California Appellate Program from 1999 to 2004 and as an Attorney at the Office of the Federal Public Defender, Eastern District of California in 1999. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law. Judge Mesiwala fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Coleman A. Blease. This position requires confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Rob Bonta and Senior Presiding Justice Ronald Robie. She is a Democrat.
Ashley Williams, of West Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director for Legislative and External Affairs at the Emergency Medical Services Authority. Williams has been Office Chief of Maintenance Strategic Planning at the California Department of Transportation since 2020. She was Staff Services Manager I at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services from 2019 to 2020. She was an Associate Governmental Program Analyst at CalPERS from 2016 to 2019. She was a Manager for Safeway from 2005 to 2017. She earned a Master of Science degree in Communications from Syracuse University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $126,000. Williams is registered without party preference.