The state lawyer who now serves as the troubled Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s watchdog will soon run the agency.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today named Inspector General Matthew Cate secretary of the Department of Corrections. On May 16, he’ll replace James Tilton, who is retiring for health reasons.
Prior to his 2004 appointment as inspector general, Cate was a supervising deputy attorney general, who, as head of the public corruption unit, led investigations into former Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush and the state’s controversial no-bid contract with Oracle Corp. Cate is also an alumnus of the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office and the law firm of Downey, Brand, Seymour & Rohwer.
As an inspector general, Cate recently released a report (.pdf) revealing the big-spending habits of former prisons receiver Robert Sillen. As corrections secretary, Cate will be charged with fixing major overcrowding problems and the dangerous medical conditions that put California’s prisons into receivership.
No word yet on whether Cate’s departure will delay a projected summer report from the inspector general’s office that’s expected to show the state spends $20 million a year on lawyers’ fees alone from prison-related lawsuits.
— Cheryl Miller