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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Plans to scrap the state’s Credit Union Advisory Committee, along with the elimination or consolidation of 87 other state boards and commissions, have been dropped by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger, in a letter sent Feb. 18 to the Little Hoover Commission, an agency that reviews state operations, said the plan “will benefit from further review.” The major reorganization of the state’s some 300 boards and commissions was a hallmark of Schwarzenegger’s campaign to reform California government. The California Performance Review commission he subsequently appointed to examine state government made more than 1,000 recommendations, including eliminating or consolidating one-third of the state’s boards and commissions. The panel predicted its recommendations could save the state $32 billion over five years, a figure that has been disputed by the Legislature’s budget analyst. The Little Hoover Commission was scheduled to review the plan the week of Feb. 21 and according to some news reports was going to release a report highly critical of the proposal. Among the boards and commissions on the chopping block was the Credit Union Advisory Committee. That panel is composed of credit union leaders from around the state who meet with officials from the Department of Financial Institutions, including Howard Gould, the DFI commissioner, and Elizabeth Dooley, deputy commissioner for credit unions. Credit union officials had argued that the advisory committee was a “vital link” between credit unions and the DFI and should not be eliminated. Among those who testified in late January in support of the committee was John Van Ettan, a lobbyist with the California Credit Union League, and Greg Badovinac, former government affairs analyst with the league. “The Credit Union Advisory Committee provides an opportunity for open and frank dialogue between the Department of Financial Institutions and its regulated state credit unions at little or no additional cost to the department, and is paid for by state credit unions-not the general fund nor the California taxpayers,” the league stated in written testimony. Schwarzenegger launched the California Performance Review-or CPR as it has been called-after he described the state bureaucracy as a “mastodon frozen in time and about as responsive.” In addition to the credit union committee, other boards targeted for elimination included ones that regulate doctors and nurses, oversee such professions as accountants, building contractors, engineers and architects and deal with such issues as unemployment appeals, recycling and seismic safety regulations. Despite withdrawing the plan to eliminate or consolidate the commissions-seen as a major victory for consumer activists, unions and Democrats-Schwarzenegger was moving ahead with other plans, including redrawing legislative districts and reorganizing the state’s prison and parole system. -

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