It has been 1.25 years (and counting) since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Gov. Mills declared an emergency in March 2020. Many executive orders were issued, forcing businesses, organizations, etc., to close and forcing Mainers to remain home. Little has improved all around, including for the Maine Department of Labor, among others.

Though it’s been an extremely difficult time period, more meaningful and substantive progress with improvements should’ve occurred. The Maine Legislature failed to do its job well or properly last year. It has belatedly been dealing with the ongoing situation, including the DOL’s issues with its many system failures, missteps, etc.

Further, the Maine unemployment insurance so-called “system” is user-unfriendly, woefully flawed and broken, with numerous deficiencies and failures. The DOL bureaucracy failed to serve the people of Maine efficiently or properly. Also, many people didn’t receive their weekly claims in a timely manner, putting extra burdens and financial hardships on claimants, all on Commissioner Laura Fortman’s (and Gov. Mills‘) watch.

When is enough going to be enough? When will real reforms happen for DOL and other state departments? Additionally, many job seekers are unable to access or use CareerCenters presently. Why? CareerCenters are closed to the public except by advance appointment and with very limited use. This isn’t helpful at all to job seekers. This situation must change immediately!

The DOL unemployment insurance “system” is woefully broken, out of date, etc. The Maine Legislature must find the means to properly address, fix and overhaul the woefully flawed “system.”

Just do it, now.

David Hall
Cornish

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