Jerry Brown may not appoint a chief of staff

One of Gov.-elect Jerry Brown's more specific post-election pronouncements was that he may not appoint a chief of staff.

The title "kind of conjures up, you know, Eisenhower's Cabinet," the 72-year-old former governor said the morning after the election, as if the Capitol had become a more title-conscious place since Brown was last governor, from 1975 to 1983.

In fact, Brown may be the first California governor to have used the term, referring to Gray Davis, the eventual governor, as his "executive assistant and chief of staff," according to records reviewed by the California Research Bureau, a section of the California State Library.

And whatever he may now call the position, there is little reason to believe Brown will not install a de-facto chief or chiefs of staff. For a governor of the nation's most populous state, it is almost unavoidable.

"Somebody's got to be there to kind of manage the flow of information," Tim Gage, a former state finance director who has provided advice to Brown's transition team on budget-related matters, said in a panel discussion Wednesday. "Even if you're going to have a transition, or an inaugural celebration that consists of juice and paper cups, somebody's got to go buy the paper cups."

Jack Pitney, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College, said, "You need somebody to handle the details. Obviously, he (Brown) knows California government as well as anyone alive. But it's just a question of allocating time."

Brown has said that not having a chief of staff could serve to flatten the administration. He would rely more on department heads and introduce a "little more humility" to the Governor's Office, he said.

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