Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom are managing a transition of personal handoffs between the outgoing Corner Office and the incoming, between old and new agency and department chiefs. It is a unique change of administrations for the nation-state of California.
Of course, you’re thinking. After all, Brown and Newsom are both Democrats, there is no fiscal crisis…and Newsom is just moving down a Capitol corridor about 50 feet from his lieutenant governor’s office.
Not so. Even same-party transitions can be filled with acrimony, wine stains on the Council Room carpet from the exit party and hide-the-budget chicanery. A colleague here watched a governor-elect cool his heels in the outer office for a half-hour as the incumbent occupant made him painfully aware of the price for campaign rhetoric about the need for strong, new leadership.
Brown and Newsom did have the luxury of time to prepare thanks to a lopsided election, decided well in advance. But veteran campaigners know better than to assume anything. There was no running start – no one was measuring drapes in the governor’s cozy personal office.
But Brown’s and Newsom’s fiscal experts are now working side-by-side on the 2019-20 financial plan. The big white budget binders are living documents in knowledgeable hands and minds, driving the first policy and program decisions of the nascent administration. No stale briefings.
And the Horseshoe teams are collaborating on senior executive interviews, beginning to determine best fits for the 850 agency/department appointments and 2,200 slots at boards and commissions. There is no rush for a mass exchange of nameplates, no musical chairs.
A managed, measured transition for California.
Of course, you’re thinking…two experienced politicians. Smooth guys, smooth process.
Not at all. This is a generational exchange of power and direction for our nation-state. Newsom – entrepreneur, thoughtful author of Citizenville and father of four young children – on Jan. 7 will take over from a political scholar born before World War II.
Change, as always in Sacramento, is on the horizon.