James Mayer is the executive director of the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state agency and bipartisan panel that reviews state programs and policies for efficiency and effectiveness. As executive director, Mr. Mayer manages the Commission's staff, oversees the research and production of all Commission studies, and represents the Commission in a variety of public forums. Mr. Mayer joined the Commission's staff in 1994 as a project manager and served as deputy executive director prior to being appointed executive director in January 1999.
After receiving the associate of arts degree from Diablo Valley College, Mr. Mayer obtained the B.S. in journalism from California State University, San Luis Obispo. He earned the Master of Public Policy and Administration degree at California State University, Sacramento. He has also been a career fellow at the Schools of Communication and Natural Resources at the University of Michigan.
For more than a dozen years, Mr. Mayer was a newspaper journalist. He was a senior writer with the Sacramento Bee for seven years, and was a staff writer for the Bakersfield Californian and the Press-Tribune in Placer County. During his career in journalism, Mr. Mayer was recognized statewide for his coverage of education and public resource issues.
Mr. Mayer has served as president of the Kern Press Club, as an assistant scoutmaster, and in volunteer positions at St. Francis of Assisi Church. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security.
Currently living in rural Yolo County, Mr. Mayer and his wife, Andrea, are developing an olive orchard and restoring an oak woodland and seasonal wetland.
"I am beginning to feel the weight of the challenge and the importance of the work that I do. For me, the master's program in public policy and administration was an important part of my development process. The professors showed me new concepts, provided me with a framework for understanding some of my life experiences, and gave me a set of multidisciplinary tools for working on public issues. My peers and I were working professionals. We had lost some of our naiveté, but not our ambition or hope. Many issues and ideas divided us, but all of us wanted to make our communities a better place to live. Looking back, I can see that the path through CSUS is helping us to do that."