NEW: Tassoni Urges Governor to Fix What’s Wrong at DLT
Friday, September 07, 2012
Sen. John J. Tassoni Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Smithfield) said today he is issuing an urgent plea to Gov. Lincoln Chafee to fill vacant positions at the Department of Labor and Training “because the unemployment claims backlog at the department is hurting people who are already suffering because of our stagnant economy.”
“It is time for state government to do what is right – not what’s right for a government agency but what’s right for the people who must turn to this office in their time of dire need,” said Senator Tassoni. “Vacant positions may look good on the DLT budget bottom line, but the backlog caused by these vacancies is causing enormous pain and suffering for many people in our state who want to find jobs but can’t and who desperately need help to tide them over until they can help themselves.”
Senator Tassoni said this newest call for the governor to take action is the result of a communication he received from a constituent, whose son has been stymied by “the bureaucratic nonsense that exists at DLT and by countless calls to a DLT number that rings and rings and rings and is never answered by a human being.”
The individual in question, said Senator Tassoni, is a veteran who returned from deployment in July. He submitted an unemployment claim online and received a call asking him to fax his discharge papers and follow that up with a call to the DLT office. Having faxed the documents, the young veteran called the office repeatedly for several days, never able to get through to a staff member to pursue the claim.
Senator Tassoni said the young man finally received a code and set up a PIN to receive unemployment benefits, but is still, at this date, not in the DLT system. He visited the Pawtucket DLT office to fill out more paperwork, only to be told all processing has been consolidated in Cranston. He is still, said Senator Tassoni, waiting.
“This is just nuts; there is no other way to say it,” said Senator Tassoni. “I feel badly for any individual who has to go through this, but I am especially disgusted that a young man, who has served his nation in a war zone, has returned home only to be treated in this manner. We owe every one of our citizens much better than that.”
“At this point, I don’t really care where the governor finds the money in the budget. But with the most recent report that the state’s surplus is higher than anticipated, I think it is absolutely necessary for the governor to order DLT to hire more claims processors so that we can help our struggling neighbors, like this young returned serviceman,” he said.
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