California Department of Finance Director: Who Is Michael Cohen?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Michael Cohen

The state budget is done and so is Ana Matosantos, the Department of Finance director who guided the process for Governor Jerry Brown.

The governor announced last week that Matosantos is leaving the administration in September and is being replaced by her deputy, Michael Cohen. She was the youngest, the first Latina and the first openly gay person to hold the position. She was also the first finance director to serve two governors of different parties.

Matosantos, a Democrat, joined state government in 2004 as a consultant to the Senate and held various positions in the executive branch before being appointed finance director in 2009 by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She was reappointed by Brown in 2011.

Cohen, 40, earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Stanford University in 1995 and a master’s in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas in 1997. Matosantos was also a Stanford graduate, class of ’97.

Cohen went from college to California’s independent Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) where he served in a number of posts, including local government finance analyst, director of state administration and deputy legislative analyst. He left the LAO in 2010 for the Department of Finance, becoming its chief deputy director in 2011. Cohen, who declines to state a political party affiliation, advised the Legislature on a wide range of matters related to state government, including the state’s overall budget situation.

Cohen is married to Amy Supinger and, according to the official announcement of his promotion, has two dogs, Lulu and Dexter. Senate confirmation is required for this position. The appointment is effective on September 16.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Finance Chief Ana Matosantos Leaving Brown Administration (by Jeremy B. White, Sacramento Bee)

Budget Advisor Ana Matosantos to Exit Gov. Brown's Administration (by Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times)

Michael Cohen, Chief Deputy Director, Budget (Department of Finance)

Leave a comment