The head of California's Employment Development Department Rita Saenz is leaving the job.
An internal document confirms her resignation, and Governor Gavin Newsom appointing Nancy Farias to replace Saenz. Farias currently works as the EDD's chief deputy director of external affairs - she is set to be sworn in on Tuesday. Saenz took the director's chair in December 2020 with the expectation of turning around the troubled department in the midst of the massive fraud scheme and record high number of claims. "This year has been an eventful one, following a just as eventful year before. During this time I have had the privilege to work with you, a brilliant and dedicated staff. It has been such a pleasure," Saenz wrote in the memo. "I have great respect for the hard work, flexibility, and fortitude you’ve shown. I hope that I have shown to you my appreciation of the hard work and difficulties we have faced together. I joined you with the knowledge that my time at EDD would be limited. And, now it is time for me to hand over the reins of the department."
The governor appointed Saenz in December 2020 with the expectation of helping turn around EDD, which at the time was overwhelmed with a record number of unemployment claims, as well an unprecedented amount of fraudulent claims. She took office the following January.