Caleb Frostman resigns as DWD secretary amid unemployment benefits backlog criticism
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Gov. Tony Evers on Friday, Sept. 18, asked for and received resignation from Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Caleb Frostman.
Secretary Frostman’s resignation is effective immediately. Department of Corrections (DOC) Deputy Secretary Amy Pechacek will lead the transition until the new secretary is appointed.
BREAKING: Caleb Frostman is out as Department of Workforce Development Secretary, effective immediately, @GovEvers announces.— Victor Jacobo (@victorjacobo_) September 18, 2020
This follows months of criticism over DWD's handling of distribution of unemployment benefits during the pandemic, where some Wisconsinites have yet to receive them.— Victor Jacobo (@victorjacobo_) September 18, 2020
“People across our state are struggling to make ends meet, and it is unacceptable that Wisconsinites continue to wait for the support they need during these challenging times,” said Gov. Evers. “It is clear that our unemployment system has faced historic levels of claims these past few months, hindered in part by antiquated technology we inherited, and processes designed by Republicans to make it harder for folks to get these benefits.”
According to a news release from Gov. Evers' office, the DWD has faced unprecedented unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, far exceeding Great Recession levels. Since the pandemic began, Gov. Evers has worked to provide additional staffing resources to the DWD to assist with the substantial influx in claims, calls, and adjudication processes. More than 130 DWD employees have been reassigned to the Unemployment Insurance Division. In total, the DWD now has more than 1,500 individuals working on UI cases, a 250 percent increase from 600 individuals previously.
“We have continued to add additional state resources to support the DWD, but it is clear that we must have change if we are going to address these problems to get folks their benefits faster. I am confident Deputy Secretary Pechacek has the leadership and skillsets we need to begin to identify solutions to these issues and to get to work making sure folks across our state can get the resources they need. I appreciate Secretary Frostman’s service to our state and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
More information about the DOC Deputy Secretary Pechacek is available HERE.