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during Brown's tenure as Secretary of State, saying that "each time" the agency was given recommendations that the outdated computer systems should be replaced.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: 397421

Reported Deaths: 5299
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61160856
Washington42725408
Marion40378520
Clackamas33323391
Lane30531364
Jackson25267363
Deschutes24034198
Umatilla15178184
Linn15004184
Douglas13635295
Josephine10388249
Yamhill9916145
Klamath9144153
Polk8384103
Benton624440
Malheur594093
Coos5854109
Columbia442156
Jefferson427268
Lincoln369155
Crook345558
Union341857
Wasco320747
Clatsop265835
Baker223133
Tillamook220646
Hood River218637
Morrow198925
Curry194639
Harney121933
Grant109216
Lake106418
Wallowa76513
Sherman1953
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1161
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5128725

Reported Deaths: 74953
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153845127262
San Diego4104514351
Riverside3912955388
San Bernardino3784085998
Orange3370455783
Sacramento1699162462
Kern1590231841
Fresno1581872284
Santa Clara1536961933
Alameda1262241514
San Joaquin1084911837
Ventura1049251194
Contra Costa1046451058
Stanislaus923321436
Tulare869791102
San Francisco57458674
San Mateo56861631
Monterey52973626
Solano48014360
Santa Barbara47846555
Merced45506672
Sonoma43609414
Placer42736473
Imperial39148778
Kings35547369
San Luis Obispo31803360
Madera26511315
Shasta26353465
Butte25690320
Santa Cruz22540224
Yolo21792263
Marin18728249
El Dorado18544168
Sutter14691186
Napa13501107
Yuba1084791
Humboldt10360119
Tehama10329133
Nevada10187105
Mendocino873799
Lassen801259
San Benito793980
Tuolumne782691
Lake7073113
Amador583267
Siskiyou480757
Glenn460336
Calaveras449988
Del Norte380442
Colusa329821
Inyo259446
Plumas19679
Mono19274
Mariposa163818
Trinity102117
Modoc7956
Unassigned3820
Sierra2210
Alpine1080
Out of CA00
Medford
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 38°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 43°
Crater Lake
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 38°
Grants Pass
Mostly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 38°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 33°
Colder tomorrow with more showers, snowy Cascade passes
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events