Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Clare) urged Governor Gretchen Whitmer to fire Acting Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) Director Liza Olson.
In the statement, Wentworth highlighted several errors and examples of poor management throughout the state agency.
“The simple truth is UIA isn’t getting the job done for Michigan families,” said Wentworth. “The people of this state need UIA’s help more than ever right now, and instead of rising to the challenge, they are letting us down over and over again.
Wentworth added, “We have all waited long enough and given them more than enough chances, but it just isn’t getting any better. It is time for Gov. Whitmer to make a change and finally give people struggling with unemployment a fighting chance.”
Olson’s term as the acting director has been filled with various problems for the agency. During the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the agency gave out benefits to ineligible recipients for months.
After awarding the money, UIA sent out almost 700,000 letters to residents informing them that they may not have been eligible because of federal guidance adding three federal qualifications and rejecting four state-developed qualifications.
Thousands of Michigan residents were concerned that they would not qualify and have to repay some unemployment funds.
“Acting Director Liza Olson’s letter telling people they may have to pay back some of their UIA benefits terrified over 600,000 Michigan families. Whitmer appointees are proving more and more disastrous as time goes on, and it is long past time for Liza Olson to step down,” added Eric Ventimiglia, Executive Director for Michigan Rising Action
According to Wentworth, after almost 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic and 10 months into Director Olson’s term, the UIA still has a backlog of 20,000 unpaid Michigan workers.
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