Audit Finds that Former California State Agency Director Helped Hire and Promote her Daughter
In late March, a state auditor’s report found that a former state government administrator allegedly engaged in “gross misconduct” by using the influence of her position to get around California’s civil service employment process in hiring and promoting her daughter. According to state officials, the subjects of the audit are the state Department of Industrial Relations and Christine Baker, its former executive director, who retired in March 2018. The audit also found that the state agency overseeing the department failed to implement recommended changes to prevent misconduct in the future. State Labor Secretary Julie A. Su, whose agency oversees the department, stated the following regarding the audit’s findings,
This report raised serious concerns… The auditor’s report exposed a systemic breakdown and I am committed to ensuring that the proper infrastructure is in place to prevent any such violations in the future.
Baker also allegedly attempted to retaliate against whistleblowers that raised concerns about her actions. Baker disputes the audit’s findings and said in an email to the Los Angeles Times that “the nepotism allegations are untrue.” The report states that the director “preselected her daughter for a role in her own department, precluding consideration of and competition from other potential applicants.” The report also claims that the daughter “did not have the requisite qualifications for the job, nor did she follow the application rules to which all candidates must be held equally.” California State Auditor Elaine Howle claims the state has failed to carry out reforms despite being provided an initial report last May after the department director’s departure. State officials will hopefully listen to Howle’s warnings and carry out reforms to prevent further misconduct.