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Schwarzenegger appoints new secretary of State and Consumer Services Agency

March 19, 2009|Patrick McGreevy

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday appointed former Assemblyman Fred Aguiar as secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency to replace Rosario Marin, who resigned this month amid questions about income she received for giving speeches to private companies doing business with her agency.

Aguiar, who is a former chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and has headed the state agency before, said he is committed to "improving the efficiency, transparency and accountability of state government."

Marin resigned her $175,000-a-year position March 5 after The Times inquired about her outside income, which included thousands of dollars in fees for speeches to pharmaceutical companies within months of her agency's push last year to reduce oversight of prescription drugs.

State law prohibits officials from accepting speaking fees, except in certain situations, such as when it is related to the speaker's "bona fide" business, trade or profession.

Marin was also under investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the state's ethics watchdog, in connection with her income from speeches.

After Marin resigned, the Schwarzenegger administration announced new ethics rules for senior staff, including a requirement that statements of economic interest filed annually by the governor's senior advisors undergo a legal review to ensure they do not have outside business dealings that create a conflict of interest.

Aguiar, 60, of Paso Robles, has served since 2007 as a member of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, which oversees an agency that itself has been criticized recently for wasteful spending and a backlog of appeals.

Aguiar previously served as Schwarzenegger's cabinet secretary from 2005 to 2007. He was secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency from 2003 to 2005.

"I am confident he will not only work to protect the interests of California's consumers and businesses but will also ensure government is accountable and responsive to the people it serves," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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