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Governor Newsom Announces Appointments 7.26.23

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the following appointments:

David Maldonado, of Roseville, has been appointed Deputy Chief of Strategic Communications and External Affairs at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Maldonado has served as Deputy Chief of the Office of External Affairs at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation since 2020, where he has held several positions since 2009, including Outreach Coordinator and Victim Services Liaison for the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services. He was Community Resources Manager for the California Medical Facility from 2016 to 2020. Maldonado was a Probation Aide for the Sacramento County Probation Department from 2011 to 2012. He served as Military Police and Security Forces in the U.S. Air Force from 2003 to 2007. Maldonado earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Sacramento. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $132,000. Maldonado is registered without party preference.

Rebecca Silbert, of Oakland, has been appointed Deputy Superintendent, Higher Education in the Division of Rehabilitative Programs at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. She has been Senior Director for the Rising Scholar Network at the Foundation for California Community Colleges since 2020. Silbert was Senior Fellow and Director of Corrections to College for the Opportunity Institute from 2015 to 2020. She held multiple positions at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the University of California, Berkeley from 2011 to 2015, including Senior Legal Policy Associate and Executive Director. Silbert was a Consultant for the San Francisco Probation Department from 2010 to 2011. She was a Trial Attorney in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of California from 2001 to 2009. Silbert was an Associate at Keker, Van Nest, & Peters LLP from 1997 to 2000. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Julia Morgan School for Girls. Silbert earned a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $168,432. Silbert is a Democrat.

Heather Purcell, of Sacramento, has been appointed Assistant Deputy Director, Office of Communications at the California Department of Health Care Services. Purcell has served as Deputy Director of Communications at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development since 2021. Purcell served in several positions in the Office of U.S. Representative Ro Khanna from 2017 to 2021, including Deputy Chief of Staff, Communications Director, Press Secretary and Legislative Aide. Purcell was a Communications Associate for 270 Strategies from 2015 to 2016. She was a Press Aide at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2015. Purcell earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Sonoma State University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $151,008. Purcell is a Democrat.

Alexis Fernández Garcia, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director of the Family Engagement and Empowerment Division at the California Department of Social Services. Garcia has been a Senior Director at Code for America since 2021. She was Chief of the CalFresh and Nutrition Branch at the California Department of Social Services from 2020 to 2021 and Acting Chief for the Branch from 2019 to 2020. She served in several other positions at the Department of Social Services, including as Chief of the CalFresh Policy Bureau from 2017 to 2019 and Chief of the CalFresh Policy Section from 2016 to 2017. She was Policy Director at First Five California from 2015 to 2016. Garcia was Director of Legislation at Nourish California from 2013 to 2015 and a Nutrition Policy Advocate there from 2010 to 2013. Garcia earned a Master of Social Work degree in Management and Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $176,028. Garcia is a Democrat.

Karla Diaz Sayles, of Los Angeles, has been appointed Deputy Director of the California Film Commission. She has been Public Affairs Director for Warner Bros. Discovery since 2016. Sayles was Health Deputy in the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas from 2009 to 2016. She was a Campaign Consultant for Burnside and Associates in 2009. Sayles was Assistant Project Manager for Consensus Planning Group from 2007 to 2009. She is a member of the Junior League of Los Angeles and Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE). Sayles earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, International Studies from Northwestern University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $137,868. Sayles is a Democrat.

Quinn Buniel, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs at the California Employment Development Department. Buniel has been Assistant Legislative Advisor for the California Employment Development Department since 2021, where he has held several positions since 2014, including Legislative Manager, Legislative Analyst, Associate Budget Analyst and Budget Analyst. He was an Assistant Debate Coach for The Harker School from 2009 to 2016. Buniel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science-Public Service from the University of California, Davis. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $143,016. Buniel is a Democrat.

Seth Williams, of Burbank, has been appointed Legal Advisor to the Public Employment Relations Board, where he has been a Regional Attorney since 2018. Williams was a Civil Rights Fellow for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing from 2017 to 2018. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree in Arts Administration-Music from Butler University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $131,820. Williams is a Democrat.

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