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Jim Mayer

Jim Mayer served as Chief of Innovation from 2019-2020 at the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, where he established state government’s first “innovation incubator.”  Mayer is president emeritus and senior fellow at California Forward. As the founding CEO, Mayer advanced bipartisan political and fiscal reforms and worked with state and local agencies to re-engineer programs and services to improve results. Previously, Mayer directed the Little Hoover Commission, a bipartisan state agency that reviews programs and recommends changes to the Governor and the Legislature. 

In 2021, Mayer received the National Public Service Award presented by the National Academy of Public Administration and the American Society for Public Administration. He is the 2020 recipient of the Ross Clayton Lifetime Distinguished Public Service Award presented by the Sacramento Chapter of the ASPA. He is the 2019 recipient of the California Steward Leader Award.

Mayer currently is an adjunct professor at McGeorge School of Law’s graduate program in public policy and administration, where he teaches courses in systemic change and increasing societal capacity.

He has a bachelor’s in journalism from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo; a master’s in public policy from Sacramento State University; and was a mid-career fellow at the University of Michigan.