Republican lawmakers have made three separate requests searching for answers about a contract that pays the new Department of Social Services director about $52,000 more than normally allowed.
The Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend that William Lightbourne is receiving a $216,611 salary and $343,000 annually in total compensation as part of a three-and-a-half-year contract. He will oversee the realignment of many social services responsibilities to counties and cities. Because he is on loan to the state from Santa Clara County, the Brown Administration avoided a law limiting pay for the position to $165,000. Instead of directly paying Lightbourne, the state is reimbursing Santa Clara County.
Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, asked the Legislature's lawyers to determine the legality of that arrangement.
"There are restrictions on high pay for a reason, to ensure that taxpayers' money is used wisely," he stated in a press release. "The Administration's structuring of this extraordinarily high pay package seems designed expressly to avoid state law."
Sen. Joel Anderson sent a letter to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg asking for an investigation into whether Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley misled lawmakers by not revealing her knowledge of Lightbourne's contract. The Senate confirmed Dooley in a 31-0 vote. Anderson said his vote may have been different had he known about the salary for Lightbourne.
On Tuesday, Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, sent the governor's office a public records act request, seeking copies of any communication between Brown's and Dooley's office about Lightbourne. He also requested copies of Lightbourne's calendar, reimbursement claims and travel expenses for the two weeks he's been on the job. Jones said he's glad that senators have joined him in pursuing this issue. Brown's office had not responded to the public records request as of Wednesday afternoon.