This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS - See his portfolio and get alerts BEFORE every trade. Learn more NOW!

Concerns About Maine's Unemployment System Raised

By ALANNA DURKIN

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) â¿¿ Labor union representatives, advocates and state workers told a special commission Thursday that Maine's unemployment compensation system desperately needs more resources and staff and may require other changes to make it more efficient and fair.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage established the group last spring to examine the system of paying benefits to jobless workers amid criticism that he pressured unemployment hearing officers to decide more cases to favor business. The officers listen to jobless residents who appeal decisions regarding their unemployment benefits.

Former and current labor department employees defended the office's handling of unemployment cases, saying that their decisions are fair and unbiased. But several people expressed concerns about the lack of funding or officers available to process claims, resulting in delays in people receiving benefits and potentially mishandled cases.

"Claimants aren't getting their decisions done in a timely fashion, and we're rushed," Jim Betts, a former claims adjudicator for the state, told the commission. "Quite honestly we do the best we can with the information, but follow up questions, maybe a follow up phone call, those sort of things fall to the wayside."

The unemployment compensation system came under fire after a luncheon the governor held at the Blaine House in March with hearing officers. He reportedly said they overlooked information that skewed the outcome of cases, often in favor of workers. The administration has said that no one was pressured and that hearing officers were told to follow the law.

But Tim Belcher, general counsel for the Maine State Employees Association, said it was "clear to us in this case that there was an effort to interfere with their work."

Don Fontaine, a lawyer representing the Maine Education Association, said employees are at a significant disadvantage because they can rarely afford an attorney to represent them at the complicated hearings. He said the state should have staff on hand to help people with their cases in the event that they don't have a lawyer.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

DOW 17,776.12 -200.19 -1.11%
S&P 500 2,067.89 -18.35 -0.88%
NASDAQ 4,900.8850 -46.5560 -0.94%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs