Skip to comments.Possible conflict probed in California jobless appeals board
Posted on 12/04/2008 9:22:30 AM PST by NormsRevenge
The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office and California attorney general are investigating whether members of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board broke conflict-of-interest laws in 2005 when they voted to offer their own chairwoman a job in San Diego.
During a closed session on Halloween three years ago, the appeals board offered Cynthia K. Thornton a six-figure job as an unemployment insurance appeals administrative law judge, board minutes show.
Three members of that board, including former Democratic Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin, voted to give Thornton the judgeship in San Diego, where she now earns $109,000 hearing claims from workers who say they were unfairly denied state unemployment benefits.
On Wednesday, two board members who voted to offer her the job declined to comment. A third said he presumed the job offer was legal if it came to the board for approval.
Thornton said neither cronyism nor improper conduct by the board landed her the job.
"Another way to look at it is we got somebody good, right away," Thornton said of herself. "The state got an experienced, low-maintenance, highly productive employee. They knew I would work out."
The investigations were prompted by state Auditor Elaine Howle, who said in a report issued last month that a former unemployment insurance board may have violated state conflict-of-interest laws by approving a contract in which one of its members had a financial interest.
(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...