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California Official Resigns from State Post, Hired by Federal Receiver

Kathleen Webb, the California official who, as deputy director of the state’s Department of General Services, oversaw the questionable purchase of $1.2 million worth of vehicles that remained unused for months, and who resigned in October 2009, just two days after her actions were scrutinized in the press, did not remain unemployed for long.

About a month following her resignation, Webb, who earned $106,800 a year in her state post, was hired to work in the office of policy, planning and evaluation for the California Prison Health Care Receivership at a slightly reduced salary of $98,760.

As detailed in previous PLN articles, the Receivership was established by Judge Thelton Henderson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to oversee the state’s prison medical system which, the court had deter-mined, was violating prisoners’ Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment [see this issue’s cover story].

Webb became enmeshed in controversy when the Sacramento Bee reported on October 28, 2009 that she had overseen the purchase of 50 new Toyota Priuses that sat parked on the roof of a state garage near the capitol, unused for months. The report came at a time when state lawmakers were attempting to deal with a multi-billion dollar budget deficit by slashing spending and furloughing state workers.

Despite the controversial vehicle purchase, Webb was never accused of any fraud, corruption or unethical personal gain. The federal Receiver, J. Clark Kelso, welcomed her “formidable executive leadership skills and abilities,” yet also noted, no doubt seeking to avoid additional scrutiny, that Webb was “not on the [Receivership’s] executive management team.”

Some of the Priuses were later placed into service for state employees, after being converted to plug-in electric vehicles at an additional cost of $600,000.

Source: Sacramento Bee

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