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Sep 22, 2004 - 04:45 PM

Arnold’s Cabinet Secretary Should Be Shipped Out

by Doug Heller
Arnold's Cabinet Secretary, Marybel Batjer, has just been named to the Board of Directors of the Nevada-based Bank Holdings, the parent company of Nevada Security Bank, according to Dow Jones. This bank recently bought an Orange County, California-based financial institution, CNA Trust, and owns a loan production office in Northern California.

But the Gov has not asked Batjer to step down, despite the fact that as Cabinet Secretary, Batjer is the Governor's liaison to the Department of Corporations, which regulates financial services in the state and oversees lending operations such as those owned by Batjer's new bank. For the financial services industry, which has given more than $4.7 million to Arnold, this is better than a revolving door. They have brought a high-level administration official into their industry, giving her 6,900 stock options from Bank Holdings, while she is still working for the gov and keeping an official eye on the regulators, creating a conflict of interest most industries could only dream of.

It also seems odd that while Arnold's trying to move jobs into the state, he'd let his own Secretary take a position with an out-of-state firm.

On Monday, Arnold showcased a business that recently moved back from Nevada to La Verne, California with a press conference featuring the Arnold's Moving Company big rig. Bank Holdings of Nevada has already announced plans to move CNA Trust out of its Costa Mesa, Orange County home-base and up to Sacramento. Isn't it likely, as is the case whenever banks consolidate, that Bank Holdings will keep the moving truck on the road and ship some of its jobs up the I-80 to Nevada?

If Batjer wants to be a board member for a Nevada corporation, that's fine, but Arnold shouldn't allow these conflicts and contradictions to persist, and he should put Batjer on the next moving truck out of the Capitol.


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