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Changes at top of troubled EDD, Rita Saenz out as Newsom appoints successor

Nancy Farias has been appointed by Gov. Newsom to be the new director of the Employment Development Department.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California's troubled Employment Development Department is getting a new leader, the department and Gov. Newsom announced Friday.

Starting Feb. 1, Nancy Farias will be the new director of the EDD.

Since the pandemic EDD has been dealing with fraud, long wait times and frozen accounts, among other issues.

Farias, currently serves as EDD chief deputy director of External Affairs, Legislation and Policy

Saenz was appointed by Newsom back in 2020 to help turn the department around. This after it was dealing with a record number of unemployment claims as well as fraud claims.

“Nancy Farias has played an invaluable role in the Department’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the state’s unemployment system and implement improvements to better support hardworking Californians when they need it most. I look forward to her partnership in this all-important work to help California’s families, businesses and communities continue to recover and thrive,” Newsom said in a press release.


According to a press release from Newsom's office, Farias served in her current position with EDD since 2020. Before that, she was Director of Government Relations at SEIU Local 1000 from 2017 to 2020.

The governor's office said Saenz will resume her role as a Commissioner on the California Commission on Aging.

“I am proud of the many reforms and new programs EDD put in place during the last year, and Nancy Farias has the energy and direct experience to keep this positive momentum going,” Saenz said in a statement. “I was proud to have this opportunity to work with a team of committed and caring people. I was privileged to work directly with Nancy Farias during this important time of transformation at EDD and am thrilled that the Governor is taking action to continue that positive momentum with Nancy’s appointment as Director.”

Watch: New EDD scams targeting disability payments freezes out accounts