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Was Brown's Appointment of Berryhill a Political Reward?



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Tom Berryhill is a newly elected Stanislaus County supervisor. But, in one of Jerry Brown’s last acts of governor, he appointed Berryhill to a state board that pays a five-figure salary.
Berryhill, who just finished up as a state senator for the area that includes Fresno, was supposed to be sworn into his supervisor position Monday (Jan. 7).
However, he missed that ceremony as well as Tuesday’s regularly scheduled supervisorial board meeting. He reportedly was sworn in Wednesday.
The Modesto Bee reported that Berryhill has had health problems in the last year, including a broken hip in July and an early stage Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

Berryhill Appointed to State Board

Berryhill will receive $58,633 as a member of the State Compensation Insurance Fund Board of Directors. His appointment does not require confirmation from the state Senate.
State Fund provides legally-required workers compensation insurance to more than 100,000 policyholders in California.
The group’s next board meeting is Feb. 14-15.
Political insiders have speculated that Brown’s appointment of Berryhill, a Republican, was a “thank-you” for having backed Democratic legislation. One of those difficult votes stands out: Berryhill’s 2017 support for extending the Cap and Trade tax, a Brown priority.
Berryhill will make about $80,000 annually plus benefits as a Stanislaus County supervisor.

Is Appointment a Conflict?

The appointment of Berryhill may present a legal problem.
State law prevents one person from holding two public positions that are “incompatible.” Whether an elected supervisor and State Fund board member clash has not specifically been defined.
But, a state attorney general opinion in 1995 found that a supervisor and state community college board member conflicted because of clashing loyalties or duties.
According to State Fund’s website, the board “makes sensitive decisions involving investments, marketplace competition, company solvency, fraud investigations, and other issues.”
However, Jody Hayes, who is the chief executive officer of Stanislaus County, said the county does not use the State Fund for its worker compensation needs.

Legal Action Needed for Next Step

Any conflict would have to be resolved by the courts through a lawsuit. State law says that an office holder would have to vacate the first office if taking the second.
According to a State Fund spokesman, Berryhill took office upon his appointment Jan. 4.
A spokesman for Brown’s office, before he left office Monday, said they would not be weighing in on the issue.
Berryhill did not return requests for comment.
After he broke his hip last year, he didn’t attend a single Senate session – or cast a vote – from June through August.
Berryhill’s successor in the Senate is former Fresno County Supervisor Andreas Borgeas.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email