Governor Newsom has announced new appointments for his fledgling administration with surprises at the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA). Serena McIlwain of Sacramento has been appointed Undersecretary of the Agency and Val Dolcini has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Agriculture, a new position.
When CalEPA was formed, under the direction of Pete Wilson the #2 position was required to have agricultural roots since so much of the agenda at that time was dominated by the new Department of Pesticide Regulation and similar agencies. For several years that tenet remained, however, in the past decade agricultural representation within the ranks of senior management had all but disappeared. Discussions with the new governor on several fronts sought a back to the future requirement for the Agency and this appears to be an answer to that request. Albeit Val Dolcini does not occupy the #2 position the role does appear to be very senior.
CCM will be working to confirm the role and agenda in the coming weeks. Val Dolcini and Citrus Mutual have worked together on several fronts starting with his position as a staff member for Congressman Vic Fazio, then state Administrator for FSA, a stint in the office of Gov. Gray Davis and most recently as CEO for the Pollinator Partnership. Bottom line: Val is no stranger to the citrus industry or CCM.
The Undersecretary, Serena McIlwain, has been involved with U.S. EPA, Western Region as a Deputy Administrator and with the Department of Energy from 2011-2014. She has administrative experience at the federal level in several positions and holds a Master of Science in Administration degree from Central Michigan University.