The official who oversees state spending of federal stimulus money said Monday that Gov.-elect Jerry Brown's plan to abolish her office is largely a "symbolic act" that will save little money.
"To cut an office that is completely focused on saving money and improving government seems a shame," said Laura Chick, state inspector general for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.
"But I have no argument with the governor-elect," she said. "It's important for the governor to be able to stand up and show, not just the public but the Legislature, that he's cutting everywhere he can."
Brown, confronting a budget deficit that could be as much as $28 billion over 18 months, has promised to reduce spending in the Governor's Office by at least 20 percent. His transition team said Monday that eliminating Chick's operation will save more than $700,000 this fiscal year.
"In response to the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit, Gov.-elect Jerry Brown will be streamlining operations and eliminating redundancies in the Governor's Office and throughout state government," Chief Deputy Attorney General Jim Humes, a member of Brown's transition team, said in a written statement.
Brown's office said other state agencies will complete audits pending in Chick's office. Brown issued a statement by state Auditor Elaine Howle supporting the decision.
"The inspector general's office is an unnecessary and wasteful duplication of functions my office is already charged with conducting," Howle said.
When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Chick to the $175,000-a-year post in April 2009, California was the first state to dedicate an agency to tracking and overseeing spending of federal stimulus money.
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