California Creates Cabinet Post to Manage Volunteers

Photo: Over 2,000 people responded to a 2007 oil spill in San Francisco Bay, but many could not help.

LOS ANGELES — California is a state with frequent natural disasters and vast numbers of people who want to help. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says a recent oil spill in San Francisco Bay helped demonstrate that “volunteerism can be moved a notch.”

To that end, Mr. Schwarzenegger is creating a cabinet-level office for volunteer management, which his administration says is the first such state cabinet position in the country. He is scheduled to announce the move on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Under the change, the governor’s commission for volunteerism, California Volunteers, will maintain its staffing and budget. But its executive director will gain expanded duties as a cabinet secretary, playing a role in disaster-related planning and response efforts and coordinating volunteers at disaster sites.

The office will also manage donations that flow into the state for disaster relief, a responsibility now held by the state’s Office of Emergency Response. It is the first time a governor’s commission overseeing federal money to manage volunteers — panels required by law since 1993 — has been elevated to a cabinet role.


Labels: , , , , , ,