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Leadership Changes Needed in VTDOL says Rep. Emma Mulvaney-Stanak

From VT Digger - State Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale, D-Chittenden, Rep. Tiff Bluemle, D-Burlington, and Rep. Gabrielle Stebbins, D-Burlington, have called on Vermont Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington to resign following a snafu involving a planned $25 weekly unemployment benefit.

“[The Department of Labor] took a lifeline away from [Vermonters] due to willful incompetence,” Ram Hinsdale said in a Wednesday tweet. “It’s not the first time. Harrington should resign.”

Harrington offered an apology Tuesday at a hearing of the Legislature’s Unemployment Insurance Study Committee for not informing legislators in June that there could be a problem with the supplemental unemployment benefit signed into law June 1 by Gov. Phil Scott.

“If the primary concern is that we didn’t inform the Legislature in what they feel was a timely manner, I apologize,” Harrington said.

“VTDOL sits on info from USDOL re: UI rules all summer while telling legislators all session we can’t do this, that or the other thing for workers b/c of the rusty mainframe,” Rep. Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, D-Burlington, said in a tweet.

Mulvaney-Stanak did not call for Harrington’s resignation in an interview with VTDigger on Wednesday.

“I wish it were as simple as removing one person,” Mulvaney-Stanak said. “There is a leadership and culture problem at the Department of Labor. The governor needs to set a different course. It’s not just Harrington. We need a real leadership shift.”

Mulvaney-Stanak said the labor department is under-resourced.

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