Acting Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation: Who Is Janelle Beland?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Janelle Beland

Governor Jerry Brown announced the appointment of Janelle Beland as acting director of the Department of Parks and Recreation on the same day that her predecessor, Ruth Coleman,  tendered her resignation amid two scandals.

Beland, the No. 2 person in the Natural Resources Agency, took over July 20, 2012, on the heels of revelations that 54 department officials reaped $221,000 for vacation buyouts that were improperly obtained. A week later, it became known that the beleaguered department had been sitting on a hidden nest egg of $54 million for possibly a decade as it struggled to avoid closing 70 parks in 2012 for lack of funding.

Beland came to government service with a background in communications. She graduated from American River College in Sacramento and the now-defunct National Broadcasting School in 1989. She was director of broadcast operations for the California Channel, a politics and public affairs cable station, from 1992 to 1997. During that time she also acted as a government consultant on Proposition 174, a school voucher initiative, and Proposition 209, also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative.

Beland worked in three political campaigns in 1998. She was a field assistant for successful congressional candidate Barbara Lee, and was field assistant/media coordinator for Assembly hopefuls John Lattimer (unsuccessful) and Sarah Reyes (a winner).

Beland signed up in 1999 as deputy press secretary for the California Department of Justice and after two years moved to the Speaker’s Office of Member Services as a consultant. Two years later she left the Legislature to become legislative and government affairs associate for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Beland moved back to the Legislature in 2002 as legislative director for Assembly Committee on Rules Chair Cindy Montanez and did the same job for Assemblymember Mike Gordon in 2004-05.

She moved to state Senate in 2006 as Senator Leland Yee’s chief of staff until Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg hired her as senior advisor and caucus director in 2009.

Beland left the Legislature for the executive branch in May 2011 when Governor Brown appointed her undersecretary of the Natural Resources Agency, where she remained until called on to take over the agency’s Parks Department on an interim basis.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Janelle Beland (LinkedIn)

Governor Brown Announces Appointments (Press release)

Ruth Coleman (AllGov)

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