featured graphic for Kevin Faulconer for governor during COVID-19

Faulconer outlines reforms to help struggling Californians receive their unemployment benefits

With California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) in complete disarray, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer – the leading candidate to recall Gavin Newsom – unveiled a proposal based on his experience as mayor to reform the department and its broken unemployment system.

“When Californians call for help, Gavin Newsom leaves them on hold,” Faulconer stated. “This recall election is not just some political exercise. This is about the real, human consequences of Gavin Newsom’s failed time in office. It is unconscionable to put people out of work, then withhold unemployment benefits to which they are entitled. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.”

“As your governor, I’ll be a voice for Californians suffering because Sacramento couldn’t do the basics. Restoring fairness, balance, and compassion – that’s what’s at stake in this election,” Faulconer said.

Faulconer delivered remarks outside THE BLVD restaurant in Bakersfield, which at one point had to lay off more than 100 employees amid Newsom’s economic shutdowns. Faulconer was joined by Assemblymember Vince Fong, District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer, and Elsa Moore, an employee for THE BLVD who faced severe economic hardships while waiting to receive her unemployment payments. More than one in ten people in Bakersfield are without a job.

While mayor of San Diego, Faulconer fixed broken government programs. He reformed the city’s fractured 9-1-1 call dispatch system, bringing in a team to study performance and analytics, find the roots of the problem, eliminate inefficiencies and boost staff morale. Following Faulconer’s reforms, call response times improved by nearly 40 percent and exceeded national standards, with 93 percent of 9-1-1 calls answered within 10 seconds.

Faulconer outlined three key principles to reform the Employment Development Department:

  • Stop Adding New Legislative Mandates Until the Unemployment System is Fixed
    • The Employment Development Department must dedicate all of its focus to repairing its broken unemployment system.
    • California has passed more than 70 laws impacting the department since 2011.
    • It’s time to hit pause on any new mandates on the department until this crisis is resolved.
  • Make Fixing the Unemployment System the State’s Top Technology Priority
    • The department’s failure to modernize its technology is a product of failed leadership and priorities.
    • This problem has been brewing for years, yet the project to modernize the department’s outdated IT system is planned to take until 2027 to complete.
    • California must dedicate its best minds in state government and the private sector to upgrading the department immediately, tapping into California’s vast technology resources.
    • A modernized department will have:
      • Robust fraud protections
      • Direct deposit payments
      • Automated claims processing
      • Expanded call center hours
      • Functional online customer service portal
  • Adopt Long-Term Reforms to Department Culture and Remove Bureaucratic Barriers
    • California’s rigid civil service rules create hurdles to fixing broken state departments from the bottom up.
    • Classifying new department workers as “excluded employees” will provide more flexibility, a move consistent with how personnel are classified in other critical departments like the Department of Finance, Department of Human Resources, and State Auditor’s office.
    • Hire additional workers to clear unemployment claim backlogs and ensure all staff get the training needed to effectively and quickly resolve cases.

Faulconer also introduced a website today where Californians can share their stories and struggles with Gavin Newsom’s unemployment system: https://www.eddreform.com/

The 36th mayor of San Diego, Faulconer has earned a reputation for returning ethics and integrity to public service and putting people above politics by focusing on the issues that matter to Californians.

From bringing California’s second largest city back from the brink of bankruptcy, to getting San Diego back on track after it was rocked by a corrupt mayor, to making San Diego the only big city in the state to reduce homelessness, Kevin Faulconer is tested and ready to keep leading. As America’s only big city Republican mayor, he has shown how to turn government around and return its focus to what’s important: serving the public. As Governor of California, Kevin Faulconer will work for us – and restore balance to our state.

This article was released by the Faulconer for Governor 2022.