November 3, 2003

Schwarzenegger Taps Riordan and Arduin


Filed at 9:21 p.m. ET

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Donna Arduin, a budget official known for cutting billions in social services in Florida under Gov. Jeb Bush, has been named California's new finance director.

Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger also announced Monday that former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan has agreed to become the state's new education secretary. The appointments are the first of more than 150 the new governor is expected to make in coming weeks.

Arduin is engaged in an audit of California's budget for Schwarzenegger -- a project considered critical to creating the new governor's spending plan.

``I have a great deal of confidence in Donna's ability to bring state spending under control and find cost savings in the state budget,'' Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Arduin resigned as Bush's budget director on Monday. In Florida, she was known for helping slash money for such things as eyeglasses, hearing aids and dentures for low-income residents.

``If she turns out to be a slash-and-burn sort, I'm not sure that will serve him well, but we'll see,'' said Senate Pro Tem John Burton, a Democrat.

Arduin was not available for comment Monday.

Riordan, a longtime friend and Schwarzenegger supporter, was known for his aggressive support of public schools during his term from 1993 until 2001.

Shortly after Schwarzenegger announced Riordan's appointment, the California Teachers Association said that one of its officials, John Hein, had withdrawn from the Schwarzenegger transition team.

A terse statement from CTA President Barbara Kerr called the secretary of education one of the most redundant officials in state government, adding that the post should be eliminated to ``free up money that could be spent on students.''

Later, Kerr said the union had no current problems with Riordan, but acknowledged it has disagreed with him in the past. In recent school board elections, the former mayor and the union backed rival candidates.

Karen Hanretty, a Schwarzenegger spokeswoman, said Hein's resignation was puzzling, and that ``it is unfortunate that he does not want to participate in reforming public schools.''