The time has come for new leadership at the Maine Department of Labor.

My wife has been furloughed since March 27 and, to date, has received no payments. The department has reviewed her case multiple times and still cannot find a way to make the payments they say she deserves.

My wife’s claim has been flagged incorrectly as fraud three times because of known system issues and reinstated. While fighting fraud is important, it is equally important that people get the benefits they are owed. My wife’s claim was sent to programmers weeks ago. Her claim remains in their hands with no result and no provided resolution date.

She has been met with contemptuous responses from people answering the phones. Simply, it is a failure of management that none of the nine Level 2 supervisory and managerial staffers she has spoken to could make the simple call back that they offered. That lack of integrity can come only from a lack of leadership to prevent it.

It is inconceivable, based on Department of Labor contacts, that no one in the office can find out or affect the status of a claim that has been referred to IT. At the very least, these claims, which are well known to the department, deserve a dedicated contact. Our governor owes it to the people of the state to rectify this situation.

John Fishel

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