With a year and a half left in his last term, Gov. Jerry Brown will have to pick a new executive to lead his years-long effort to modernize the state’s bureaucracy.
State Human Resources Director Richard Gillihan is leaving his post overseeing the state’s workforce. He’s joining the California Public Employees’ Retirement System as its new chief financial officer.
Gillihan is a familiar face at CalPERS. He’s a member of its board of administration in a seat that’s reserved for the governor’s personnel director.
He will not be a member of the CalPERS board when he steps down from Cal HR and joins CalPERS as an employee. He previously worked for the state Department of Finance.
“I’m confident that Richard’s strong leadership capabilities and public sector experience will benefit the fund over the long-term,” CalPERS Chief Executive Marcie Frost wrote in a message announcing his appointment.
Gillihan led Cal HR since 2014. Brown appointed him to manage the department shortly after an audit criticized Cal HR for slow progress on the governor’s proposal to create a more efficient, better organized state civil service.
In the last three years, Gillihan’s department advanced some of the goals of Brown’s so-called civil service improvement. It has unveiled new websites to help millennial job-seekers find employment with the state, nixed hundreds of unused job titles from state records and modernized exams that job applicants must pass before working for the state.
Gillihan’s leaving after a major year in labor negotiations. Last year, contracts for 15 state bargaining units representing more than half of the state’s workforce expired. The new contracts include provisions requiring state workers to begin contributing a portion of their paychecks toward the cost of the health benefits they’ll use in retirement.