Davis solidifies staff with two media hires

SACRAMENTO: Governor-elect Gray Davis has recruited veteran political reporter Philip Trounstine as his director of communication, and named Michael Bustamante as his press secretary, the first Latino to ever hold the position.

SACRAMENTO: Governor-elect Gray Davis has recruited veteran political reporter Philip Trounstine as his director of communication, and named Michael Bustamante as his press secretary, the first Latino to ever hold the position.

Trounstine, 49, has been a reporter with the San Jose Mercury News for 20 years and has been political editor since 1986. In his new position Trounstine will oversee Davis' press, speech writing and scheduling operations.

'I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to play a central role in shaping, guiding and conveying Governor-elect Davis' message,' he said.

Davis also tapped his current spokesperson, Michael Bustamante, 37, as press secretary for the administration. Davis takes over as 37th Governor of California in January. A native of Alhambra, California, Bustamante served as press secretary for Davis' fall campaign and for the office of the Lt. Governor.

Before joining Davis' staff in January 1998, he worked for Controller Kathleen Connell and spent three years as communications director and governmental relations coordinator for LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina.

One of the first challenges the team faces is the bad publicity Davis is getting from breaking a campaign promise that he would not accept a pay raise as governor.

Before he was elected, Davis announced that he would not accept the 18% pay raise that the office had been granted which would boost the salary from $131,040 to $165,000. Now he has announced that he will accept 95% of the 18% pay raise and thus earn $156,750, or $25,710 more.

Davis insists that he is still honoring his promise. Meanwhile, Davis is telling thousands of state employees, who have waited for four years for a pay raise, that it is 'problematical' whether money will be available in the next year to raise their salaries, because of an expected drop of $1 billion in state revenues.

New communications director Trounstine declined to reveal his exact salary, but told the San Jose Mercury News 'it will be 5% less than what my friend Sean Walsh makes,' which works out to $97,663. Walsh - press secretary and deputy chief of staff for outgoing Republican Governor Pete Wilson - makes $102,804 a year.

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