Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, January 7, 2010


Page 1


Governor Appoints Three Attorneys to State Posts


By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said yesterday he has appointed three attorneys to posts around the state.

The governor tapped former Public Utilities Commission member Rachelle Chong as special counsel of advanced information and communications technologies for the Office of the State Chief Information Officer and named his former judicial appointments advisor, John Davies, to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Governing Board.

Schwarzenegger also named Fresno attorney Ronald Barsamian to the board of the Big Fresno Fair.

None of the appointments require Senate confirmation.

A San Francisco Republican, Chong, 50, served on the Public Utilities Commission from 2006 until last year and is a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.

She was general counsel and vice president of government affairs for BroadBand Office from 2001 to 2008, and has owned Professional Services of Rachelle Chong—her own business as a mediator, arbitrator and expert witness—and been president of Carina Jewelry since 2001.

Chong was admitted to the State Bar in 1984 after attending UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law. She began her legal career as an associate with Kadison, Pfaelzer, Woodard, Quinn & Rossi in Washington, D.C., where she practiced communications law before the FCC until 1987.

She joined international law firm Graham & James in 1989, where she served as an associate, and later as a partner, in the firm’s Public Utilities Department, specializing in matters before the California Public Utilities Commission.

Then-President Bill Clinton named Chong to the FCC in 1994, where she served for three years. In 1998 she joined the telecommunications and internet practice group of the Coudert Brothers International Law Firm as a partner for one year.

The Office of the State Chief Information Officer is a cabinet-level agency with statutory authority over information technology strategic vision and planning, enterprise architecture, policy, and project approval and oversight. Compensation for Chong’s post as special counsel is $140,000.

Davies, 75, has been of counsel for Allen, Matkins, Leck, Gamble, Mallory and Natsis since 1993. He served as judicial appointments secretary for then-Gov. Pete Wilson from 1995 to 1999 and then as Schwarzenegger’s judicial appointments advisor from 2004 to 2007.

A Republican, Davies chaired then-U.S. Sen. John Seymour’s California Judicial Qualification Committee from 1991 to 1992 after leading a similar committee for Wilson when he was a senator from 1983 to 1990.

Davies was admitted to the State Bar in 1963 after attending USC and UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law. He was a research attorney for California Supreme Court Justice Roger J. Traynor from 1962 to 1963, and then served as a partner in the law firm of Davies and Burch until 1976.

Barsamian, 56, has served as managing partner for Barsamian and Moody Professional Corporation since 1992.

A graduate of UC Riverside and California Western School of Law, he was admitted to the State Bar in 1978 and served as assistant general counsel for Western Growers Association for seven years. He was also a partner with Finkle and Barsamian Law Firm from 1985 to 1992.

Barsamian is a Republican and president of the Agricultural Personnel Management Association Board of Directors. He is also vice-chairman and chairman-elect of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce.

The Big Fresno Fair [District] was founded in 1884, and is the fifth largest fair in California. The District represents the 21st District Agricultural Association, an entity of the California Department of Food & Agriculture Division of Fairs & Expositions.

Davies’ and Barsamian’s appointments do not provide a salary.

In other news, the governor yesterday also named former UC senior lobbyist Valerie Purnell—who graduated from Hastings College of the Law, but is not a member of the State Bar—as assistant vice chancellor of federal relations for the California Community Colleges.

A Democrat, Purnell owns the consulting and advocacy firm Purnell Partnerships.

The position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $103,608.


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