It worked once before, why not try it a second time. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Republican former Army Green Beret B.T. Collins as leader of the California Conservation Corps and later as his chief of staff. The late Collins was an inspirational speaker, drawing a packed Veterans Hall here in Placerville at the invitation of the Mountain Democrat in 1986 to help raise funds for the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
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In 1992 the man who lost a leg and an arm to a grenade attack in Vietnam won election to the state Assembly. Then died in 1993.
Now Gov. Brown, perhaps inspired by the success of his appointment of a former Army captain, has now appointed a recently retired Marine general to take over the troubled Parks Department.
Maj. Gen. Anthony L. Jackson was sworn in Friday as director of the California State Parks.
Gov. Brown got one heck of a recruitment for this job. Jackson was commanding general of the Marine Corps Installations West. In other words, he was responsible for Marine Corps installations in the southwestern U.S., which include 13,000 civilian employees and 60,000 marines and sailors.
If anyone can bring order to a Parks Department that was plagued by the scandal of secret vacation time buyouts and $54 million in reserve funds when parks were being closed down, if anyone can bring order to this department it is a Marine officer.
Congratulations to Gov. Brown and to Gen. Anthony Jackson. Brown made an outstanding appointment. Let’s hope the general makes a smooth transition to civilian life while bringing fiscal and administrative order to the Parks Department. The challenge remains to work with local park supporters to help keep the parks in operation.