Gov. Jerry Brown names David Lanier new state Labor secretary

Gov. Jerry Brown names David Lanier new state Labor secretary
Gov. Jerry Brown named David Lanier, one of his top legalislative aides, as the new state Labor secretary. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Marty Morgenstern, a longtime confidant of Gov. Jerry Brown who returned to state government to head the state's Labor and Workforce Development Agency in 2011, has stepped down, according to a statement released by the governor's office Wednesday.

Brown named David Lanier one of his top legislative aides, as Morgenstern's replacement. Morgenstern, who turns 79 later this month, will remain on as an unpaid senior advisor to the governor.

Morgenstern's resignation comes as the state's unemployment benefits system, which is run by a department within the labor agency, has come under fire for software glitches that have led to delays in tens of thousands of benefit checks.

Brown spokesman Jim Evans said on Wednesday that there was "absolutely no connection" between Morgenstern's departure and the unemployment benefits problems, adding that "it was always Marty's intention to retire at this time."

Brown first appointed Morgenstern as director of the Office of Employee Relations in 1975, Brown's first year in office in his first term. He served as Brown's director of personnel administration in the early 1980s and was appointed to the same post by Gov. Gray Davis in 1999.

Lanier, 46, has served in Brown's legislative affairs unit since 2011, and has worked in the state Legislature since 1995.