The Senate Rules Committee has confirmed the nomination of Val Dolcini as director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation. CalEPA hired Dolcini in 2019 for the new ag liaison position, but he soon took over as DPR acting director following the resignation of acting director Teresa Marks.

During the hearing for Dolcini's confirmation earlier in August, Senator Bill Monning of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties echoed the concerns of anti-pesticide groups in his district, asking the director if county ag commissioners have kept up their enforcement during the pandemic. Dolcini affirmed they have been continuing the work, explaining they “have not skipped a beat.”

Dolcini also said he has been discussing ways to expand notification requirements for pesticide applications in the San Joaquin Valley. He acknowledged this has long been a difficult conversation among stakeholders, with many issues in trust.

Dolcini’s confirmation had strong support from the Ag Council, California Citrus Mutual (CCM) and sustainable ag groups, among others.

“We look forward to continued collaboration as the department moves forward with its reevaluation of neonicotinoids,” CCM said in a statement following the vote.

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The Senate floor will take up Dolcini’s confirmation this week.

The Newsom administration has been dealing with more recent staff disruptions as well. The governor’s Central Valley coordinator for external affairs stepped down last week. This follows the controversial resignation of the administration’s public health director.

Early in the pandemic the governor’s chief economic advisor, Lenny Mondonca, who also focused heavily on the valley, stepped down for mental health reasons. This followed the resignation of Newsom’s ag liaison Bill Lyons in February, leaving another vacancy. The position of CalEPA ag liaison has not been filled more than a year after Dolcini moved to DPR.