Callahan Named to California EPA Advisory Panel

By Ben Dimapindan

Rich Callahan

Richard Callahan, associate dean and director of leadership programs at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, has been appointed to a newly formed advisory board for the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Department of Toxic Substances Control.

The department is responsible for protecting California residents and the environment from toxic harm. Its programs encompass managing hazardous site cleanups, enforcement of policies for handling hazardous wastes, water and soil evaluation, risk assessment and pollution prevention.

The five-member performance review panel will help guide the department’s policy and management decisions.

Callahan, whose areas of expertise include public sector leadership and organizational effectiveness, called the panel an “innovative approach to increasing performance results in state government.”

According to Maziar Movassaghi, acting director of the department, Callahan “brings a wealth of knowledge. He knows state government, how it operates, and more importantly, how much better it can operate by setting goals, measuring performance and being transparent. Rich has already helped us shape this effort, and we look forward to tapping into his experience as this project unfolds.”

The external panel will closely examine the department’s proposals, performance measures, metrics and policy considerations, and provide feedback, Callahan noted.

“We serve as both a source of information and a connection to the broader community,” he said. “Our goal is to enhance transparency and accountability.”

Callahan explained that the department’s efforts will have a lasting impact for the people of California.

“It protects public health not only in the short term, but the long term as well. The payoff for its work will be in effect one year, five years, even 10 years from now,” he said.

Jack H. Knott, dean of SPPD, added, “Dr. Callahan’s work advances SPPD’s institutional presence, especially in the field of public management. And most importantly, his leadership will help to improve the health of Californians.”

Callahan also noted that the panel represents a divergent range of expertise and viewpoints.

In addition to Callahan and Movassaghi, the panel includes Bill Magavern, director of Sierra Club California; Thomas McHenry, environmental attorney and a partner at Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher LLP; and Carroll Mortensen, consultant for the California State Senate Committee on Environmental Quality.


Photo by Tom Queally/em>