California Secretary for Natural Resources

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The California Secretary for Natural Resources is a state executive position in the California state government. The secretary heads the California Natural Resources Agency, a conglomeration of a number of state departments, boards and commissions concerned with protecting and managing the "natural, historical and cultural resources," of the state.[1]

Current officeholder

The current secretary is John Laird. He was first appointed by Governor Jerry Brown on January 5, 2011. As secretaries of the Natural Resources Agency serve at the pleasure of the governor, Laird is not subject to periodic reappointment.

Before becoming secretary, he taught state environmental policy at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He was a member of the California State Assembly from 2002 to 2008; he also served on on the member of the State Integrated Waste Management Board from 2008 to 2009. Laird's career in public service began in Santa Cruz, CA, where he was a budget analyst for for the county administrator and spent nine years on the city council from 1981 to 1990. Additionally, he spent four years as mayor from 1983-1984 and 1987-1988.[2]


The office of secretary of the Natural Resources Agency is established by Section 12802 of the California Government Code. Previously, the officer had been known as the "Secretary of the Resources Agency." The authority of the Secretary of the Resources Agency was based on Section 12801 of the Government Code provides that certain state-level bodies, including the Natural Resources Agency, are under the control of secretaries.[3]

'California Government Code, Section 12802b

(b) The Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency shall succeed to, and is vested with, all the duties, powers, purposes, responsibilities, and jurisdiction previously vested in the Secretary of the Resources Agency.


There are no unique qualifications required of secretaries of the Natural Resources Agency. However, officeholders must fulfill the general requirements for holding civil office in California; he or she must be a resident of the state, at least 18 years of age, not a convicted felon, and not a member of the Communist Party or any other organization that advocates the overthrow of the U.S. government.[4]


Secretaries are appointed by the governor with the approval of the Senate.[5]

'California Government Code, Section 12801

Each agency is under the supervision of an executive officer known as the secretary. Each secretary shall be appointed by, and hold office at the pleasure of, the Governor. The appointment of each secretary is subject to confirmation by the Senate. The annual salary of each secretary is provided for by Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 11550) of Part 1.

Term limits

There are no term limits associated with the office of secretary.


When a vacancy exists, the governor appoints a new officeholder; if the appointment is made when the legislature is out of session, the appointee serves at the pleasure of the governor until the Senate reconvenes.[6]

'California Government Code, Section 1774a

(a) When an office, the appointment to which is vested in the Governor and Senate, either becomes vacant or the term of the incumbent thereof expires, the Governor may appoint a person to the office or reappoint the incumbent after the expiration of the term. Until Senate confirmation of the person appointed or reappointed, that person serves at the pleasure of the Governor. If the term of office of an incumbent subject to this section expires, the Governor shall have 60 days after the expiration date to reappoint the incumbent. If the incumbent is not reappointed within the 60-day period, the office shall be deemed to be vacant as of the first day following the end of the 60-day period.


The secretary is the administrative head of the Natural Resources Agency, a group of 8 departments, 11 commissions, 5 boards, 10 conservancies and 2 councils that are concerned either with natural resource management or conservation. He or she provides strategic vision for the divisions within the agency and helps coordinate between them.



  • California Conservation Corps
  • Department of Boating and Waterways
  • Department of Conservation
  • Department of Fish and Game
  • Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
  • Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery
  • Department of Water Resources


See also

External links



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