Request for formal audit of unemployment insurance program put on hold

March 11, 2014|By Marc Lifsher

SACRAMENTO -- A Republican state senator has put on hold his request for a formal audit of the state's troubled unemployment insurance program.

Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres said he took the action after meeting with representatives of the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown.

"I have been assured that the EDD (Employment Development Department) has the resources to remedy the problems the people of California experienced in receiving unemployment insurance payments over the past year," Cannella said.

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The agency during the last six months has been bogged down with computer problems that delayed unemployment insurance payments to as many as 150,000 people at one time. Its consumer phone lines go largely unanswered and at least half its denials of benefits are reversed on appeal.

Cannella, however, said he now is supporting a less broad call for an EDD audit by Assemblyman Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) that will be heard Wednesday by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

Perea "is definitely moving forward" with his request" said spokeswoman Alicia Isaacs. The committee is expected to overwhelmingly support it, said people familiar with the issue who were not authorized to speak on the record to a reporter.

 "I believe that any process that yields the incorrect result half of the time is broken at a fundamental level," Perea wrote the audit committee.

The proposed audit is expected to require approximately 2,000 hours of work and cost about $222,000 plus travel and administrative expense, according to Elaine M. Howle, the state auditor.



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