SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — The director of California’s Employment Development Department Rita Saenz has resigned – to be replaced by Nancy Farias, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday afternoon.

Saenz was EDD director since Dec. 2020. She will move into the role of the state’s Commissioner on the California Commission on Aging.

“I am proud of the many reforms and new programs EDD put in place during the last year, and Nancy Farias has the energy and direct experience to keep this positive momentum going,” Saenz said in a statement.

Last November, the EDD granted assistance for roughly 100,000 seeking pandemic unemployment assistance. That included workers who refused to work for an employer that violated COVID-19 safety standards were laid off, or had hours reduced as a direct result of COVID-19.

In a statement, Fresno-area Assemblymember Jim Patterson says Gov. Newsom needs to put someone in charge who can make the necessary changes to the department.

The fact the Governor replaced [Saenz] is not surprising. The EDD has tried so hard to downplay their most recent failure at preventing fraud within their disability programs. Their “nothing to see here” excuse-making is actually hurting people.

Nancy Farias will be sworn into her new role as director on Tuesday. She previously served as the EDD’s Chief Deputy Director of External Affairs, Legislation and Policy since 2020.

“Nancy Farias has played an invaluable role in the Department’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the state’s unemployment system and implement improvements to better support hardworking Californians when they need it most,” Newsom said in a statement. “I look forward to her partnership in this all-important work to help California’s families, businesses and communities continue to recover and thrive.”