State Health and Welfare Secretary David B. Swoap, a key adviser to Gov. George Deukmejian, announced his resignation on Friday to join a consulting firm headed by another former top Administration official.
Swoap said he will leave state government Nov. 1 to become a partner of Michael V. Franchetti, former state finance director, in a firm advising clients on government and corporate affairs. They will have offices in San Francisco and Washington.
Swoap said he will concentrate on health care matters, while Franchetti will focus on tax issues.
Swoap is the third agency chief to leave the Deukmejian Administration this year. Kirk West resigned as secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency to become president of the California Chamber of Commerce. Gordon Duffy quit as secretary of environmental affairs and chairman of the Air Resources Board to become a lobbyist.
Deukmejian, in a written statement released by his office, said he accepted Swoap’s decision “with regret.” The governor added that he had not decided who will succeed him.
Swoap, whose state salary is $83,383, said he had been thinking about returning to private enterprise for some time “and this seemed like a good time to do it,” because “we have accomplished most of our objectives.”
Swoap recently played a crucial role in legislative negotiations that led to enactment of a compromise workfare program designed to get able-bodied welfare mothers off the welfare rolls and into self-supporting jobs. The program will require about 175,000 of the state’s welfare recipients to take jobs, enroll in job training or go to school. Failure to do so would cause them to risk losing all or part of their benefits.
The governor signed the workfare legislation on Thursday.
In his formal statement announcing Swoap’s resignation, Deukmejian lauded the agency secretary for “his success at seeing that valuable state dollars are targeted directly to those recipients who are most in need rather than being eaten up by more bureaucracy.”
Swoap also engineered the governor’s controversial proposal to create a new state agency to coordinate toxic waste control. A bill that would have done that, however, died on the Assembly floor during a partisan political squabble on the hectic last night of the legislative session.
Asked about the failure of the toxic waste plan, Swoap said: “I think we will see a reorganization early next year, much along the lines of what we sent to the Legislature. It is on its way.”
Swoap was appointed secretary of the Health and Welfare Agency by Deukmejian in January, 1983. He previously had served as undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Reagan Administration from 1981 to 1983. From 1973 to 1975, he was state social welfare director under then-Gov. Reagan.
Swoap recently said in an interview with The Times that he wanted to earn enough money to allow him to pursue his interest in aiding the underdeveloped world. He said at the time that his goal in life is to head an international relief agency.