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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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    GOP leader asks Whitmer to fire unemployment director

    House Speaker Jason Wentworth called on the governor Thursday to fire the leader of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency about two weeks before Acting Director Liza Estlund Olson is scheduled to testify in a House Oversight Committee. 

    Estlund Olson, who took over in November upon the resignation of the former director, has failed to correct items flagged by federal regulators, denied benefits to some residents who were entitled to them and gave them to others who were not, and failed to hand over some documents requested by the House Oversight Committee, said Wentworth, R-Farwell. 

    He added that there are still 20,000 unpaid Michigan workers waiting on unemployment and that the state kept agency offices closed for 15 months during the pandemic. 

    The UIA, Wentworth said, “isn’t getting the job done for Michigan families.”

    “We have all waited long enough and given them more than enough chances, but it just isn’t getting any better,” he said in a statement. “It is time for Gov. Whitmer to make a change and finally give people struggling with unemployment a fighting chance.” 

    The agency referred questions to Whitmer’s office. 

    Whitmer’s office celebrated the 99% of eligible Michigan residents who received benefits during the pandemic and said it was working to give benefits to the final 1%.

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