Jerry Brown's finance director to leave in September

jwhite@sacbee.comJune 29, 2013 

Ana Matosantos, the Department of Finance director whom Gov. Jerry Brown retained from the Schwarzenegger administration, is leaving.

The Governor's Office announced Friday that Matosantos will be stepping down in September. Her deputy, Michael Cohen, will fill the vacancy.

"During very tough economic times, Ana carried out her duties as finance director with insight, boundless energy and uncommon effectiveness," Brown said in a statement. "Michael has been an excellent chief deputy director and I'm confident that he's fully up to the task of leading the department in the years ahead."

Matosantos' tenure has spanned some fiscally turbulent years, but she is stepping down after relatively smooth budget negotiations that accompanied an influx of new revenue this year. Brown signed the state's new budget Thursday – four days before Monday's start of the fiscal year.

Matosantos referenced California's recently established fiscal stability in a statement accompanying her departure.

"It has been a privilege to serve the people of California during very difficult fiscal times, and now the state's economy is recovering and its budget balanced," Matosantos said in the statement.

It's unclear what her next move will be. H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the Department of Finance, said Matosantos had been planning to depart but hasn't talked with potential future employers.

Palmer added that the decision isn't surprising.

"Being the director of finance and overseeing the largest state budget in the country is a tough job on its own," Palmer said, "but being the finance director in the greatest recession since the Great Depression makes that job exponentially more challenging."

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543. Follow him on Twitter @CapitolAlert.

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