Appointments follow Governor’s action to improve EDD customer service and processing of unemployment insurance claims
SACRAMENTO – Building on the Governor’s actions to implement needed reforms at the Employment Development Department (EDD) to better serve Californians, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the appointment of new executive team members at the Department, and a senior advisor at the Labor and Workforce Development Agency.
The Governor last month announced the formation of an EDD Strike Team to create a blueprint to modernize information technology programs at the Department and transform the customer experience. Work to address the backlog of unpaid claims to those that have experienced job loss during the pandemic and to streamline the call center experience is underway, and EDD is collaborating with legislators and staff to improve communication with claimants. Additional information on efforts to strengthen the state’s unemployment insurance delivery system can be found here.
The Governor announced the following appointments today:
Maurice Emsellem, 61, of Berkeley, has been appointed senior advisor at the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Emsellem has been program director at the National Employment Law Project since 2015, where he has held several positions since 1990, including policy director, program director and staff attorney. He was a Soros Justice senior fellow for the Open Society Foundations from 2004 to 2005, an associate appellate counsel for the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Appeals Bureau from 1987 to 1990 and staff attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit from 1986 to 1987. Emsellem earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Northeastern University School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $165,000. Emsellem is a Democrat.
Nancy Farias, 47, of Thousand Oaks, has been appointed chief deputy director of external affairs, legislation and policy at the California Employment Development Department. Farias has served as director of government relations at SEIU Local 1000 since 2017. She was deputy chief of staff at the Office of California State Senator Henry Stern from 2016 to 2017. Farias was district director at the Office of California State Assemblymember Mike Gatto from 2015 to 2017. She was deputy secretary of legislation at the Government Operations Agency from 2013 to 2015. Farias was deputy director of legislative affairs at the California Department of Human Resources from 2012 to 2013. She was legislative director at SEIU Local 1000 from 2009 to 2012 and senior vice president at Smith, Ruddock & Hayes from 2008 to 2009. She was an associate at Wolkon Pascucci from 2002 to 2008. Farias earned a Master of Science degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts and a Juris Doctor degree from Suffolk University Law School. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $180,600. Farias is a Democrat.
Kevin Matulich, 32, of Sacramento, has been appointed deputy director of legislative affairs at the California Employment Development Department. Matulich has been assistant director at the California Employment Development Department since 2019, where he served as assistant director of policy and external affairs from 2017 to 2019 and special assistant to the director from 2014 to 2017. He served in several positions in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2011 to 2014, including special assistant for appointments and constituent affairs representative. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $133,308. Matulich is a Democrat.
Carole Vigne, 41, of San Francisco, has been appointed general counsel and deputy director at the California Employment Development Department. Vigne has been senior staff attorney and program director of the Wage Protection Program for Legal Aid at Work since 2014, where she was a staff attorney from 2011 to 2014 and a Skadden fellow from 2007 to 2009. She was an associate attorney at Rukin, Hyland, Doria & Tindall LLP from 2009 to 2011. Vigne is a board member of Mujeres Unidas y Activas, and a member of the Coalition of Low-Wage and Immigrant Worker Advocates and the Freedom Network. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $170,772. Vigne is registered without party preference.
Carol D. Williams, 52, of Davis, has been appointed chief deputy director of operations at the California Employment Development Department. Williams has served as chief of the Filing Division at the California Franchise Tax Board since 2015, and was chief of the Accounts Receivable Management Division from 2011 to 2015 and director of the Revenue Recovery Services Bureau from 2006 to 2011. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $180,600. Williams is a Democrat.