The State Worker

Nepotism sanctions on California department could be lifted

Tax board boss says his job was threatened

David Gau, executive director of the California Board of Equalization on April 20, 2017 told a Senate budget subcommittee that his job had been threatened, presumably by an elected official. Video courtesy of the California Senate.
Up Next
David Gau, executive director of the California Board of Equalization on April 20, 2017 told a Senate budget subcommittee that his job had been threatened, presumably by an elected official. Video courtesy of the California Senate.

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration could regain control of its hiring practices one year after a state audit revealed that almost a fifth of its employees worked with a relative in the organization.

The State Personnel Board on Thursday is scheduled to consider reinstating the tax department’s authority to hire and promote job candidates without oversight from the state’s centralized human resources department.

Over the past year, the tax department had to allow CalHR to review its job postings and its promotion candidates. CalHR reported that it denied less than 1 percent of the 400 people the tax department attempted to hire or promote.

CalHR credited the tax department with creating a new anti-nepotism policy, and with carrying out new training on merit-based hiring for its supervisors. CalHR is recommending that the State Personnel Board allow the tax department to make its own hiring decisions.

“The CDTFA has been in strict compliance with (its hiring restrictions) and has agreed to continue established processes to ensure no inappropriate appointments are made in the future,” the CalHR recommendation reads.

The Legislature created the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration in July 2017 after it voted to gut the tax-collecting Board of Equalization. The tax department took over most of the responsibilities and staff that had been assigned to the Board of Equalization.

The State Personnel Board’s nepotism audit was one several investigations into the Board of Equalization that called attention to questionable spending and misuse of civil servants at events that looked to be political.

Initially, the State Personnel Board reported in November 2017 that 17.5 percent of the Board of Equalization’s 4,200 employees appeared to have a relative on staff.

Do you work for the state of California?

If so, then we've got something special for you. For more than 10 years we've provided state workers with exclusive insight and analysis that can keep you ahead of the curve.
Adam Ashton and others on The State Worker team provide vital information:
  • News on pay, benefits, pensions, job openings and promotions.
  • Trends in the state workforce and at PERS and STRS.
  • Exclusive stories about discipline and politics in state service.
For a limited time, state workers can take advantage of a 99-cents offer for your first month of access.

In May, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration disclosed 30 percent of its 484 supervisors had a familial or other close personal relationships on staff that could give the impression of a conflict of interest.

Earlier this month, former Board of Equalization communications director Mark DeSio filed a lawsuit against the tax department alleging he was dismissed from his job because he cooperated with the State Personnel Board nepotism audit and other investigations into the agency.

The tax department in a written statement for the State Personnel Board wrote that it is “strongly committed to ensuring that all exams administered, selection and hiring practices are merit-based and uphold the principles of equal employment opportunity.”

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

  Comments