The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 13, 2012
California ranks 41st in processing initial unemployment claims

California takes more time to process initial unemployment claims than 40 other states, according to a new state audit of the Employment Development Department, as high-tech and telephone problems continue to plague the system.

For the quarter ending June 30, 2012, the department made 78 percent of initial payments within 14 days. The federal government considers 87 percent of initial benefits issued within 14 days to be acceptable.

The audit notes that unemployment fell in California from 12.3 percent in June 2010 to 10.4 percent in August 2012 and that initial claims dropped from 296,000 to 209,000.

"Although the State's unemployment rate has declined since 2010, the department still faces challenges in meeting acceptable timeliness levels," State Auditor Elaine Howle said in the report.

March 24, 2011
Audit: EDD has problems, but don't blame furloughs

110118 Bureau of State Audits seal.jpgThe Bureau of State Audits says that the state Employment Development Department, squeezed by soaring unemployment rates and funding problems, has struggled to meet federal standards to process first-time benefits claims. While a hiring spree and allowing employees to work more overtime eased the crunch to degree, the department is still dealing with technical issues -- phones, software -- that are slowing the public's access to services and has put federal stimulus funding at risk.

Furloughs? Not an issue, auditors said:

We also found that the former governor's furlough orders, which affected program representatives, had minimal impact on the department's performance because the average overtime hours worked by program representatives generally exceeded their average number of leave hours.

A few highlights from the report, which you can read in full by clicking here:

August 5, 2010
Column Extra: Read the broken lock e-mails

Today's State Worker column takes a ground-level look at the budget impasse, and how it appeared for a while that it would literally take an act of the Legislature to get a broken employee entry door lock fixed at the Inglewood office of UIB's Southwest Primary Adjudication Center.

A state worker prompted us to write the column after faxing along two e-mails to staff from Ron Myracks, who comes through in his memos as a concerned mid-level manager caught by forces beyond his control.

Here are Myrack's July 22 and July 23 e-mails to staff about the lock, which we understand was being repaired late Wednesday afternoon:

May 25, 2010
EDD tech chief leaving for CalPERS post

Dale Jablonsky, the Employment Development Department tech chief who said he'd quit if he failed to fix the department's technical troubles, is leaving for an executive officer job at CalPERS. He'll take his new post, replacing fund CIO Teri Bennett, on Aug. 2.

You may recall that Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Whittier, put Jablonsky on the spot during an Insurance Committee hearing in February examining $80 million in tech project cost overruns at the department. According to this Feb. 9 Bee report, this was how the hearing went for Jablonsky:

EDD technology boss Dale Jablonsky told legislators his department's systems currently run ancient COBOL programming language and they've been behind many of the delays in processing claims and getting checks out.

Modernization projects have also been stalled or delayed because scarce staff needed to be reassigned to prepare the state's systems for the string of federal benefit extensions, Jablonsky said. That includes projects funded with stimulus money.

But Calderon said that if EDD had met its own initial deadlines to modernize its systems, instead of missing them repeatedly, it could have been ready for the current unemployment crisis.

The assemblyman asked Jablonsky if he'll resign if he misses his next deadlines.

"Yes," Jablonsky said.

Several blog users sent The State Worker an e-mail that went out last week to EDD staff about Jablonsky's upcoming departure for CalPERS. We confirmed its authenticity with department spokeswoman Loree Levy before posting it, unedited, here:

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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