The State Worker

Consumer Affairs director stepping down this month

The Consumer Information Center office in the Department of Consumer Affairs building.
The Consumer Information Center office in the Department of Consumer Affairs building. Sacramento Bee file, 2008

Department of Consumer Affairs Director Awet Kidane plans to resign from his position at the end of this month to purse a new opportunity, he told state employees in a message this week.

Kidane since July 2014 has led a department that oversees more than 40 professional licensing boards, including ones that regulate medical cannabis, construction and nursing.

“Over the years, we have had ups and downs, but I have always had faith in the department knowing that the work we do helps protect consumers every day. I owe my success as a director to a talented and dedicated team,” he wrote.

Kidane did not announce his new career opportunity. The department has not yet announced a succession plan.

Previously, Kidane was the department’s chief deputy director. He also had worked in the Legislature for about 10 years, including assignments as a senior adviser to former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and chief of staff to then-Assemblyman Steven Bradford.

At the Department of Consumer Affairs, Kidane had a hand in establishing a medical cannabis licensing program. It is not yet issuing licenses.

He also had to answer for a flawed computer project the department launched in 2009. Known as the BrEZe system, the project ultimately contributed to licensing delays for some of the boards managed by the department.

Some of the boards early next month are expected to appear before a joint legislative committee where lawmakers will consider whether they should be consolidated.

Adam Ashton: 916-321-1063, @Adam_Ashton. Sign up for state worker news alerts at