Amid unemployment delays, Wisconsin DWD secretary resigns

Caleb Frostman, Gov. Tony Evers

Gov. Tony Evers on Friday, Sept. 18 announced that he asked for and received resignation from Caleb Frostman -- the secretary of Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

Frostman's resignation is effective immediately, according to a news release from the governor's office.

Department of Corrections Deputy Secretary Amy Pechacek will lead the transition until a new DWD secretary is appointed.

The DWD has cased unprecedented unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, the news release stated, far exceeding Great Recession levels.

Gov. Evers has worked to provide additional DWD standing to assist with the influx in claims, calls and adjudication processes.

More than 130 DWD employees have been reassigned to the Unemployment Insurance Division. In total, more than 1,500 people are working on unemployment insurance cases -- a 250% increase from the previous 600 people.

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Statement from Gov. Tony Evers:

“People across our state are struggling to make ends meet, and it is unacceptable that Wisconsinites continue to wait for the support they need during these challenging times.

"It is clear that our unemployment system has faced historic levels of claims these past few months, hindered in part by antiquated technology we inherited, and processes designed by Republicans to make it harder for folks to get these benefits.

“We have continued to add additional state resources to support the DWD, but it is clear that we must have change if we are going to address these problems to get folks their benefits faster.

"I am confident Deputy Secretary Pechacek has the leadership and skillsets we need to begin to identify solutions to these issues and to get to work making sure folks across our state can get the resources they need.

"I appreciate Secretary Frostman’s service to our state and wish him well in his future endeavors."

Wisconsin's unemployment rate drops, many still waiting for relief

"I just want answers. It would be better if I knew what was going on. I don't know anything."