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Senate Republican Leader blasts Oregon Employment Department for 'bureaucratic failures'

Freshly appointed Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod took aim at both the state's employment agency and Governor Kate Brown for failures in the response to skyrocketing unemployment claims.

Posted: May 19, 2020 4:57 PM
Updated: May 19, 2020 5:04 PM

SALEM, Ore. — On Tuesday, freshly appointed Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod, R-Stayton, took aim at both the state's employment agency and Governor Kate Brown for their response to skyrocketing unemployment claims — which he called "bureaucratic failures."

Girod's statement comes on the same day that the Oregon Employment Department revealed that unemployment has reached a record high of 14.2 percent in the state.

“Senate Republicans have received endless messages from newly-unemployed Oregonians that are suffering. They have not been given the help they were told would be available. Many have called or emailed the Oregon Employment Department hundreds of times, only to wait for an answer that doesn’t come, give up and try again for weeks on end," Girod said.

Last week, the leader of state House Democrats acknowledged similar difficulties for Oregonians seeking to file unemployment claims, urging "bold action" from the Employment Department to address backlogged claims. Unlike Girod, however, Rep. Barbara Smith Warner, D-Portland, did not lay the blame at Governor Brown's feet.

Girod cited multiple audits, including during Brown's tenure as Secretary of State, saying that "each time" the agency was given recommendations that the outdated computer systems should be replaced. Upon closer inspection, only the 2015 audit under Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins — the most recent audit referenced by Girod — specifically recommended that the system be replaced.

That said, Oregon did receive $85.6 million in federal funding in 2009 for OED to make improvements, including updating its computer systems — but the agency appears to have been incredibly slow in using the funding to make those changes.

"Instead of using the over a decade of time to complete the technological upgrades, the project had just started when the COVID-19 pandemic hit," Girod's statement said. "This blatant inaction by Governor Brown and OED is the source of the unemployment debacle Oregonians experience today."

“There is no excuse for this bureaucratic failure on a problem that should have been avoided with ample time and resources, and the responsibility rests with Governor Brown and the Oregon Employment Department," Girod continued. "The people of Oregon deserve better.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 133851

Reported Deaths: 1803
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28467459
Washington18734171
Marion16247239
Clackamas11698138
Lane8353109
Jackson693085
Umatilla679368
Deschutes499936
Yamhill319045
Malheur313552
Linn311646
Polk245540
Klamath242838
Josephine174333
Benton170514
Jefferson170525
Douglas168743
Union111416
Wasco108123
Columbia104918
Lincoln99617
Hood River95421
Coos93815
Morrow93810
Clatsop6865
Crook62110
Baker5685
Tillamook3652
Curry3245
Lake2305
Grant2131
Harney1754
Wallowa963
Gilliam511
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3055568

Reported Deaths: 34441
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103280614122
San Bernardino2561091560
Riverside2504362645
San Diego2168352109
Orange2148082477
Santa Clara943661109
Kern86718565
Fresno82485968
Sacramento806781111
Alameda67952765
Ventura62101436
San Joaquin58290786
Contra Costa52965450
Stanislaus42882758
Tulare41867506
Monterey36126255
San Mateo32596309
San Francisco29321262
Solano25806106
Imperial25317465
Santa Barbara25083236
Merced24452308
Sonoma24068240
Kings19435145
Placer17380180
San Luis Obispo15929136
Madera13443151
Santa Cruz12298113
Marin11693157
Yolo10620131
Shasta9776122
Butte9474123
El Dorado782644
Sutter775478
Napa760140
Lassen519516
San Benito496343
Yuba495127
Tehama397142
Tuolumne338240
Nevada320673
Mendocino311432
Amador301631
Lake261230
Humboldt239324
Glenn193519
Colusa17339
Calaveras161723
Siskiyou144613
Mono11214
Inyo97429
Del Norte8662
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Sierra820
Alpine730
Unassigned00
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