Alberto Torrico named to state appeals board

Former Assemblyman Alberto Torrico has been named to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board – a panel consisting wholly of former lawmakers, each earning a $128,109 annual salary – by Assembly Speaker John Perez.

Torrico, 41, of Newark, was a labor lawyer before serving in the Assembly; he placed second in last year’s Democratic primary for state attorney general, and was term-limited out of the Assembly at year’s end.

“I’m honored that the Speaker has asked me to serve,” Torrico said Thursday afternoon, noting his background in labor law should serve him well in this post. He said it’s “very important work,” especially at a time when the state’s unemployment rate is so high.

The board’s administrative law judges hear first-level appeals of the Employment Development Department’s determinations on unemployment and disability benefit claims; those judges’ rulings can then be appealed to board members, who have authority to affirm, reverse or modify the rulings.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last month named two termed-out Republican lawmakers – senators Dennis Hollingsworth and Roy Ashburn – to the board. Former state Senator and 2010 Alameda County supervisorial candidate Liz Figueroa just finished her term on the board.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Isn’t that sweet?

    Does anyone wonder why people are cynical about politics and don’t bother to vote?

  • rew

    These “jobs” are a joke, they are no-show jobs that require no work, they were created to find an “income” for termed out legislators until they find another job. These jobs are an affront to the numerous unemployed in California. All up and down the state you’ve got people desperate to work, yet the state is paying termed out legislators over $130,000 to do nothing. You could put three people to work for this. Jobs like this are just a disgrace, an affront to working people. Moreover, these “jobs” still exist even though we have a 28 billion dollar deficit. It’s just a disgrace.

  • publius

    The career politician will never die. “Rew” you are absolutely correct, these jobs are a waste and do not accomplish anything. These jobs are not an affront to the unemployed for these boards rarely side with the employer and basically are a rubber stamp for granting unemployment benefits. These jobs are an affront to the hard working people of this state. Putting Alberto (a labor attorney) in this position is comparable to putting Jerry Brown in charge of negotiating with the unions. The result is the same every time; the tax payer gets screwed by the career politician.

  • John W

    I wonder how many appeals they deal with in a year. On what basis would they (with no expertise) override the ALJ’s, who presumably do have specialized expertise in unemployment law — I hope!

  • Joe M.

    And Messrs. Torrico, Hollingsworth and Ashburn are somehow experts in unemployment compensation law? Schwarzenegger’s legacy will be tainted by his appointment of morons like the latter two to lucrative “do-nothing” jobs, along with his pardon of ex-Speaker Nunez’s son. He came to Sacramento pledging to change the sleazy way business is done, yet he exits doing “more of the same.” As for Mr. Torrico, how exactly was he qualified to be California Attorney General? His candidacy was a joke and it’s shocking that so many Democrats were fooled enough to vote for him in the primary.
    I think that there ought to be a written examination as part of the nomination process for Unemployment Appeals Board. I doubt that any of this trio would receive a passing grade. (And don’t get me started about the Carole Migden appointment. That useless person should just go away.)