11:33 PM PST on Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – Departing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday appointed former Senate GOP leader Dennis Hollingsworth of Murrieta to a $128,109-a-year post on the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

The panel weighs appeals of unemployment insurance benefits. Yet it also is viewed as a six-figure soft landing for former legislators who pack the board. Former Inland lawmaker Bonnie Garcia, R-Cathedral City, leads the panel.

Also named to the appeals board Sunday was former state Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, who represented part of San Bernardino County.

Sunday was Schwarzenegger’s last full day in office and his office announced a slew of appointments mid-afternoon.

Democrat Jerry Brown will be sworn in this morning.

Hollingsworth, 43, was elected to the Legislature in 2000 and spent the last eight years in the state Senate. He led Senate Republicans from February 2009 through August 2010.

He has a campaign committee to run for the Assembly in 2012.

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