Vt. lawmaker calls for labor commissioner to resign over lack of transparency

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 11:38 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 5:11 AM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - A Chittenden County lawmaker is calling on the state’s labor commissioner to step down due to a lack of transparency.

This all stems from the last session when lawmakers passed a so-called grand bargain where employers would receive $300 million over the next decade by not raising their contributions to the state’s trust fund.

Unemployed Vermonters in turn would receive a weekly $25 supplemental unemployment benefit.

But last month, the federal government determined the new law was not allowed.

Vermont lawmakers say the Scott administration didn’t tell them about the change in a timely manner after this summer’s veto session when they could have made changes.

Chittenden County Democratic Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale is now calling on Vermont Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington to step down.

“I stand by that more so today. This is not a conspiracy theory. It does feel like willful incompetence,” Ram Hinsdale said.

Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, weighed in on the issue, saying, “We’re entrusted to protect the unemployment trust fund and we’re doing just that, we’re trying to follow the law.”

The Labor Department has said adding the benefit would crash the 51-year-old mainframe.

Lawmakers recently greenlighted $4.5 million for the first phase of updating the mainframe.

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Feds shoot down extra $25 payments for Vermont’s unemployed

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