SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown decided he wanted a cabinet secretary after all.
Brown has promoted Dana Williamson, who has worked for Brown as a senior adviser since 2011, to a job that has traditionally been the second-most-powerful staff position in a gubernatorial administration.
All of the other agency secretaries -- from agriculture to health and human services -- report to a cabinet secretary on the standard state government organizational chart, but Brown doesn’t operate by the book.
Many of his cabinet secretaries, including Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley and Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Marty Morgenstern, have worked closely with Brown for decades and have their own line directly to the governor. A Brown spokesman said that is not expected to change with Williamson’s appointment.
The announcement was one of a handful of new senior staff positions named by Brown on Thursday. He also appointed Sacramento attorney Joginder Dhillon as his new chief negotiator on tribal gambling compacts and chose Julie Lee, who oversaw a recent reorganization of state government, as his new director of operations. San Francisco attorney Wade Crowfoot will be the deputy cabinet secretary.
Unlike past governors, Brown has no chief of staff. He initially split the job between two aides -- Jim Humes and Nancy McFadden -- when he took office in 2011. Humes left the administration for a seat on the state appelate court last year, leaving McFadden as the de facto chief of staff but working without the title.
Williamson’s promotion comes as other top advisors have left the administration. Finance director Ana Matosantos announced her resignation earlier this summer. Senior adviser Jacob Appelsmith, who is Brown’s point person on tribal issues and also serves as director of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, is leaving for a job at UC Davis.
Other top aides, including former press secretary Gil Duran, pensions and education adviser Julie Henderson and deputy press secretary Elizabeth Ashford, have also left Brown’s administration in recent months.