Resources Secretary to be Replaced by Water Resources Head
Resources Agency Cabinet Secretary Mike Chrisman, a veteran of both the Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson administrations, will step down in February and be replaced with current Department of Water Resources head, Lester Snow, administration sources told California’s Capitol.
Snow’s replacement is said to be Mark Cowin, a deputy director and 25-year veteran of the department, who coordinates efforts to make regions of the state more water self-sufficient.
The resources cabinet secretary oversees 25 departments, commissions, boards and conservancies, including water resources, the Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Parks and Recreation.
A fourth generation Californian with a ranch in Tulare, Chrisman was one of Schwarzenegger’s first appointments, named to the post in November 2003, a little over one month after Schwarzenegger was elected.
In the Wilson administration, Chrisman was a deputy secretary at the Resources Agency and left to work for Southern California Edison in 1996 after serving as undersecretary of the state Department of Food and Agriculture.
Previously, he was chief of staff to former Fresno Assemblyman Bill Jones.
Schwarzenegger named Snow, 58, to head water resources in February 2004. Snow was a key negotiator on the water deal the GOP governor and lawmakers approved in late 2009 which includes an $11 billion bond measure that will appear on the November ballot.
From 1995 to 1999, Snow was executive director of CALFED, now the California Bay-Delta Authority thanks to the water deal he helped negotiate. Like Snow’s current job as director, his position at CALFED required strong diplomacy skills, shepherding a large coalition of state and federal agencies whose stated goal was to solve habitat and water wheeling issues in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
Cowin, 50, was also at CALFED, serving as an assistant director for its Bay-Delta Program. He currently oversees the department’s flood control and dam safety programs.
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