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Brown to retain Schwarzenegger's budget director, tap former aide for health post

December 7, 2010 |  1:35 pm

Ana Matosantos

In what is one of his first and most important appointments, Gov.-elect Jerry Brown announced Tuesday that he would keep Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget director, Ana Matosantos, as the head of the Department of Finance.

Matosantos, 35, is a Democrat who has served as budget director for Schwarzenegger for the last year and was previously chief deputy director.

[Updated 5:21pm: An earlier version of this post said Matosantos was 34.]

“I am honored to continue to serve California as director of finance,” Matosantos said in a statement released by Brown's transition office.  “As California confronts a multibillion-dollar structural deficit, I will do everything in my power to manage the budget process in a thoughtful and inclusive way.”

Brown and Matosantos struck up a relationship during his campaign for governor, in which he sought her insight on fiscal matters. He even showed up at her office unannounced once and the pair talked budget policy.

California faces an estimated $25.4-billion deficit over the next year and a half, and Brown has said solving the state's fiscal woes is his top priority.

“Ana has what it takes to manage the Department of Finance during this period of fiscal crisis,” Brown said in a statement.

Brown also announced Tuesday he was appointing Diana Dooley as the next secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency. Dooley served as a legislative adviser and special assistant to Brown during his first stint as governor, from 1975 to 1983, and she is currently the president and chief executive officer of the California Children’s Hospital Assn.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the Health and Human Services Agency,” Dooley said in a statement.  “In these difficult times, it’s more important than ever to manage our health and social programs with efficiency and a sense of compassion.  And that’s my commitment in taking this position.”

Added Brown, "Diana has the skill, the experience and the human qualities to lead the Health and Human Services agency.”

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

Photo: Ana Matosantos. Credit: John G. Mabanglo / EPA