Monday, May 16, 2011
Governor Proposes Eliminating Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Gov. Jerry Brown Friday proposed eliminating the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.
“Although state revenues have improved because of the underlying strength of California’s business climate, we’re not out of the woods yet—not even close,” Brown said in a statement. “Cutbacks in boards, commissions and other state services will continue as we work towards a truly balanced budget.”
The Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board is a quasi-judicial agency created to hold hearings on disputed unemployment and disability determinations and tax-liability assessments made by the Employment Development Department.
There are seven members on the board. The governor appoints five and the Senate Rules Committee and Assembly speaker each appoint one, with annual salaries of $132,179 for the chair and $128,109 for the other members.
The board met 14 times last year and is scheduled to meet 16 times this year, the governor noted. He said the proposal, which will be included in the May Revise of the budget, would eliminate the board by June 30 of next year and would save up to $1.2 million in salary and travel costs.
The governor’s statement did not indicate how unemployment appeals would be determined following the board’s demise, and a spokesman for Brown said he did not know. A request for clarification had not been responded to as of late Friday.
The board has often been criticized as a dumping ground for termed-out or defeated politicians seeking to remain on the state payroll. The members currently include four Republican ex-legislators—Roy Ashburn, Bonnie Garcia, Dennis Hollingsworth and George Plescia—appointed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and two Democrats—ex-Sen. Denise Ducheny and ex-Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, appointed by the current legislative leadership.
Torrico was an unsuccessful candidate for attorney general last year. Brown’s only appointee so far, and the only current member who has not served in the Legislature, is Robert Dresser.
Dresser served as an administrative law judge for the board from 1992 to 2001. After that, he spent one year as chief counsel and interim director of the Department of Information Technology, then five years as general counsel of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency.
He was enforcement counsel for the Contractors State License Board from 2007 until Brown tapped him for his current post in February of this year.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company