General William H. Wade II, who led the California National Guard from 2005 until early last year, was removed from active service as a Guard member Wednesday.
Last month, Wade received a demand from the California controller for $80,720 in improper pay received while he led the Guard as adjutant general. The move followed a Bee investigation that found Wade had received about $155,000 in improper double-dip earnings - two days pay for a single day of work. Due to the statute of limitations for recoupment, he was billed for overpayments during just the last 22 months of his tenure.
Wade's removal stemmed from the pay controversy. The general currently serves as NATO deputy chief of staff for operations in Italy. To date, the Guard has not received any payment from him, a Guard spokesman said. The impact of Wade's forced retirement on his current posting remains unclear.
Citing the provisions of the California Military and Veterans Code, current Adjutant General David S. Baldwin issued a statement that "Wade is hereby transferred to the retired list, effective immediately. The soldiers and airmen of the California National Guard are best served by this action."
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Baldwin's action was taken in consultation with Gov. Jerry Brown.
"Gov. Brown agrees with Gen. Baldwin that removing Gen. Wade from the National Guard is the best way forward for the organization," said Elizabeth Ashford, a spokesperson for the governor. "The action is final."
Neither Wade nor his representatives in NATO could immediately be reached for comment.
Guard members who also are state employees may collected limited dual payments for both federal and state pay on the same days, but Wade was found by The Bee, and then the state's own analysis, to have exceeded allowed limits dramatically. He previously contended that state rules limiting dual pay did not apply to him as adjutant general.
In response to the Bee investigation, Senate Bill 806 is working its way through the Legislature. It would increase the period for recouping such funds from three to six years. Wade earned a base annual state salary of more than $200,000 when he headed the Guard, and on average took in $50,000 extra in federal pay annually.