Michael Allen lost his job in the November election, but he landed pretty softly.
Allen, defeated by Marc Levine in his reelection bid for a state Assembly seat representing part of Sonoma County and Marin County, was appointed on Thursday to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.
The five-member panel, which meets monthly, is the final arbiter in appeals of unemployment and disability claims involving workers and employers.
The job pays $128,000 a year. That's a hefty bump from an Assembly member's base pay of $95,300, although that is supplemented by travel and living expenses they receive each day the Legislature is in session.
Assembly Speaker John Perez, a political ally of Allen who supported him over Levine, announced Allen's appointment with other assignments handed out Thursday.
Allen said after the election results became final, he reached out to various government agencies and Perez about potential positions might be a good fit.
"I'm thrilled to be able to use my legal and medical background," he said. "It seems like it's something that's perfect for me."
Allen, who turned 66 on Wednesday, has worked as an attorney, a labor leader and a registered nurse. He served as the general manager of the Service Employees Local 707 and served nine terms as the president of the North Bay Labor Council.
He acknowledged that critics may complain he landed a comfortable political appointment to a cushy post, which he denies.
"It's actually a pretty vigorous job," he said. "I was disabused early of that notion that this is &‘collect a paycheck and don't work.'"