New head of California political watchdog agency says it is moving on after period of tumult

As the governor’s pick to lead the state’s political watchdog panel, veteran Democratic activist Alice Germond takes over an agency that has been mired in turmoil for months following a dispute between commissioners over the sharing of power.

“I think that there is a general feeling that that was then and this is now and we’ve got work to do,” Germond said in an interview with The Times. “We’re not going to spend a lot of time pointing fingers at what may or may not have happened in the past, because that is all history and it appears that all of that has not changed the good work that the FPPC does.”

The commission was created by voters to include four part-time commissioners and one full-time chairperson who acts as an executive for the agency. A power struggle in recent months pitted some part-time commissioners against the chairwoman at the time, Jodi Remke, who they felt left them out of key decisions on budgets, personnel, legal issues and policy changes.

Over Remke’s objection, the other four commissioners approved a new structure, creating committees that exclude the chairperson to make recommendations on important issues. At the same time, the agency has been considering a proposal to make the chairperson a part-time commissioner without the executive powers provided when the FPPC was set up.

Germond, who attended her first commission meeting Thursday, said that it would be premature to take away the chairperson’s full-time status before the new committee system is given a chance to demonstrate whether it is better.

“Let’s see how this works before we make any more changes,” Germond said. “As a very new chair, I have not yet gotten a sense that this is something you can do part time. My gut says there is an awful lot of work to do, and the more people…

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