Empower Wisconsin | Dec. 21, 2020
MADISON — It’s no secret that Gov. Tony Evers is a feckless executive. The latest records obtained by Empower Wisconsin further make the case.
As out of-work Wisconsinites found themselves trapped in an Unemployment Insurance system nightmare, Evers appears to have met with his Workforce Development chief just one time between March 1 and Sept. 18 — and that was to fire him.
Calendars and emails obtained by Empower Wisconsin show Evers called Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman on Sept. 18 — when he asked for Frostman’s resignation — and had scheduled briefings with other DWD and Unemployment Insurance Division staff on just two other occasions during the six-month period.
The documents suggest what many have suspected, that Evers has been a disconnected executive in one of the worst crises of the pandemic — the crush of Unemployment Insurance claims that swelled in the outbreak of COVID-19 and the administration’s subsequent lockdowns.
Evers’ calendars show the governor did clear portions of his schedule for an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and two hours of personal time on the rare days he was to meet with DWD officials.
In April, when hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Wisconsinites were struggling to connect with a disconnected Unemployment Insurance Division, Evers wrote in one of his few emails to his overmatched Workforce development chief that he was hearing “rumors of the system not working, etc.”
By that time displaced workers like Jennifer Robinson and many, many more like her were struggling even to reach DWD claims processors. Robinson and so many others would find themselves on the brink of financial ruin — some homeless, many maxing out their credit cards and depleting their savings accounts — waiting for the Unemployment checks they deserved.
That level of obtusity during the worst unemployment crisis in memory is stunning.
It’s also extremely tool-worthy.
That’s why Gov. Tony Evers is Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week.