In Memory of Little Hoover Commission Executive Director Carole D’Elia

December 20, 2017

For Additional Information Contact:
Terri Hardy, Deputy Executive Director
(916) 445-2125

CaroleThe Little Hoover Commission regretfully announces the death of its Executive Director, Carole D’Elia, on Saturday, December 16. She was 55. Carole was diagnosed with cancer in September following a family camping and hiking trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. She welcomed the widespread support of her many friends and acquaintances, and fought bravely to the end.

Carole brought a deep institutional history to the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency. She joined the team in 2001 as a research analyst and served as project manager and deputy executive director before serving as executive director since 2013. She left a legacy of tackling some of the most complicated issues facing California state government, including pensions, water quality, healthcare and long-term care, infrastructure and spending. She developed an especially deep knowledge and passion for energy and bond spending.

Among her many important contributions to the state, perhaps the most lasting will be those in criminal justice. Her work in the Commission’s report, Solving California’s Corrections Crisis: Time is Running Out, was the first citation in the 2011 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Plata, which held that California’s overcrowded prison system violated 8th Amendment rights.

“She was a remarkable person who cared deeply about the Commission's work and inspired all around her to reach higher,” said Pedro Nava, chair of the Little Hoover Commission. “She was thoughtful, considerate and caring. Her zeal was perfectly paired with the practical. We pledge to continue to perform our work in a way that would make her proud.”

Carole dedicated her career to making California state government more effective, handled policy analysis with grace and helped the Commission skillfully navigate the political currents to find bipartisan, lasting solutions.

She also was a member and leader of the Sacramento County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commissions and a volunteer coordinator with Get on the Bus, which provides bus trips for children to visit their incarcerated mothers. Additionally, Carole served on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Gender Responsive Strategies Commission and the St. Anthony Parish Social Justice Committee. She also worked with homeless families as part of Family Promise.

Carole leaves her loving husband, John, and cherished children, Amanda and Adam. She is deeply missed by her six-member Commission staff in Sacramento and 12 current Commissioners and many former Commissioners throughout the state.