California’s struggle to get unemployment benefits to jobless workers and combat fraud has been hampered by an exodus of some 1,590 staff and managers involved in the effort since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to state officials.
The presidential appointment of California Labor Secretary Julie Su to a federal post on Wednesday, subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate, would be just the latest departure of those in key roles responding to the unprecedented unemployment caused by the pandemic.
Su oversees the state Labor and Workforce Development Agency, which already is missing its second in command, Stewart Knox, who departed as undersecretary in November after 18 months in the job. Knox was the agency’s point person in overseeing the state Employment Development Department, and more than two months later, Gov. Gavin Newsom has not yet appointed a replacement.
State lawmakers grilled Newsom administration officials on the attrition during a recent legislative hearing on problems at the EDD, which is part of Su’s agency.
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