MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers’ Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has been a disaster in so many ways. Just ask the tens of thousands of Unemployment Insurance claimants who have been stuck in DWD’s dysfunctional system.
The Joint Finance Committee today will have the opportunity to ask some pointed questions of DWD officials appearing before the committee to defend the agency’s nearly $900 million biennial budget request.
Here are six questions DWD must answer:
- How did DWD arrive at the decision to make its employees “non-essential”? Did designating DWD staff as such delay getting unemployment payments to the people of Wisconsin?
- DWD’s unemployment claims process has been marred by mistakes. What are you doing to ensure that hardworking Wisconsinites, hit hard by the pandemic, are not going to have to pay back a mistake by the department, in the from of an overpayment?
- The agency has employed Google to help dig it out of the current “pandemic induced unemployment” crisis. Do we have assurances from the governor and the DWD that Google will not be data farming private information?
- COVID-19 cases and deaths have plummeted as more Wisconsinites have been vaccinated. Why are DWD offices still closed to jobseekers seeking in-person assistance?
- DWD brought more judges on to deal with the cases for appeals, costing the state more money. Yet, as of last week, 2,500 hearings were scheduled with 15,200 claims still awaiting to be scheduled. How is it that this backlog still exists?
- News outlets have reported that multiple people would call the DWD and get different answers to the same question from several different people at DWD. How do we trust the department if the workers themselves do not have the correct information?