Capitol Alert: Jerry Brown taps aide to lead Employment Development Department

jortiz@sacbee.comMarch 21, 2014 

Binders full of resources at the Employment Development Department office in Sacramento.

RANDALL BENTON — Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown has named one of his top aides to head California's Employment Development Department.

Patrick Henning, 41, becomes department director after serving as Brown's chief deputy appointments secretary since 2011. Henning's father, Patrick W. Henning, led the department for several years under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Before joining the Brown administration, Henning lobbied for the California State Council of Laborers and held positions at the state Labor and Workforce Agency (which oversees the employment department) and the Department of Industrial Relations.

Henning's résumé also includes four years in Washington, D.C. as a legislative assistant for former Congressman Vic Fazio and as congressional liaison and special advisor to President Bill Clinton.

Brown's appointment ends a 14-month stretch that Chief Deputy Director Sharon Hilliard served as the department's acting director. During that time the EDD has endured deep federal funding cuts, a computer system snafu and a recent revelation that a former EDD official brushed aside federal assistance that would have collected hundreds of millions of dollars in benefit overpayments.

Henning, a Democrat, will earn $150,112 annually as director.

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