KY must start over again with unemployment insurance upgrade

KY must start over again with unemployment insurance upgrade

Hundreds of people waited for help with their unemployment benefits outside the Kentucky state Capitol in June 2020.

Hundreds of men and women waited for assist with their unemployment rewards outside the house the Kentucky point out Capitol in June 2020.

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The condition of Kentucky is back to sq. one particular on replacing the antiquated pc procedure at the Office environment of Unemployment Insurance plan that unsuccessful to tackle a crush of jobless claims in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proposals by intrigued sellers were being due to the point out by Oct. 19 of last yr for the approximated $47.5 million tech improve, which was projected to take 18 to 24 months to entire.

But Kentucky Education and Labor Cupboard officials on Thursday told a legislative committee that no agreement is in position. The state just lately canceled the most current request for proposals for the enhance challenge and reluctantly made the decision to get started about once more, reported cupboard Secretary Jamie Backlink.

Jamie Connection

“We experienced — in very good religion, we experienced procured a new vendor,” Backlink instructed the Legislative Oversight and Investigations Committee.

“We had absent by negotiations,” Link stated. “Everybody was in agreement. We experienced the agreement, we despatched it to the seller to indicator. And they wholly went silent on us. We produced quite a few initiatives to speak to the vendor, frequently. They would not respond to us at all.”

Later on, the cabinet discovered that two “people affiliated with that vendor” have been indicted by a federal grand jury, Connection stated.

Backlink did not establish the business. But a cupboard spokeswoman later on claimed it was Sagitec Remedies LLC, centered in Saint Paul, Minn. Sagitec did not immediately answer to a ask for for remark on Thursday.

“In a way, I have to say that I’m happy we did not get into a agreement with a enterprise that has two individuals underneath federal indictment now,” Connection claimed.

The new plan is for the cabinet to difficulty yet another request for proposals by the conclude of September, Hyperlink claimed. Nevertheless, because so quite a few states are on the lookout to employ a minimal range of distributors capable of upgrading unemployment coverage methods, the timeline to total the challenge is now 36 to 42 months, he additional.

“Hopefully, that will start off the spring of future yr,” Website link claimed.

State Rep. Scott Sharp, R-Ashland, claimed he is concerned that a essential personal computer improve that was meant to be underway as a substitute will be considerably delayed.

“I’m kind of upset about it, truly,” Sharp stated Thursday, immediately after the committee listening to.

Sharp mentioned he desires much more facts to have an understanding of why an “off-the-shelf” bundle is not enough to resolve the tech problems at the Business office of Unemployment Coverage somewhat than bringing in sellers. And if suppliers will have to be employed to rebuild the laptop program, the lawmaker questioned, then why is deciding upon a certified applicant proving so difficult?

The wrestle to system extra than a single million jobless statements filed by Kentuckians in 2020, when the pandemic temporarily shut organizations all around the point out, manufactured a backlog that point out officials say they’re still trying to apparent. It was also a political black eye for Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who seeks re-election next year.

Among its issues, the Office environment of Unemployment Coverage mentioned it was hobbled by an aged laptop or computer system from the 1970s that continue to relies on COBOL programming.

To get more than enough manpower for the backlog, the workplace also awarded a lot more than $17 million in contracts to the business of Ernst & Young for its assistance in amassing info from claimants and their businesses, examining jobless claims and crafting perseverance letters, cupboard officials explained to lawmakers on Thursday.

Ernst & Youthful labored on 177,218 claims or linked difficulties or letters involving its two diverse contracts with the state, cabinet officers explained.

This tale was initially released September 15, 2022 4:27 PM.

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John Cheves is a authorities accountability reporter at the Lexington Herald-Leader. He joined the newspaper in 1997 and formerly labored in its Washington and Frankfort bureaus and coated the courthouse beat.
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