A suburban Republican legislator says he is formally beginning the process to recall Governor JB Pritzker over what he says is the governor's, "continued inaction to fix the state’s unemployment claims website."
Rep. Allen Skillicorn of East Dundee argues that there has been "ample time' to fix the Illinois Department of Employment Security website but that, "nothing has been addressed nor has there been a plan presented to fix the problems."
Skillicorn said in a Friday statement, "Enough is enough. The incompetence cannot continue."
The GOP legislator, who has largely been a critic of Pritzker's re-opening response, drafted an affidavit to initiate the recall effort.
For the affidavit to make it through the legislature, 20 House members and 10 Senators would need to sign and no more than half of the signatures could be from a single political party.
If it were obtained, a recall petition would have 150 days to circulate and would require a minimum of 15 percent of the votes cast for governor in the last election from at least 25 counties to trigger a recall election. That would be just under 637,000 signatures.
Governor Pritzker has spoken about an overhaul of the state's unemployment system that he acknowledged had been outdated and wasn't set up to handle the mass amount of claims filed when COVID-19's economic impact first hit. But in early May, after several weeks, Governor Pritzker spoke of several changes and said that IDES employees essentially had to "build a new airplane while flying it."
However, in his statement, Skillicorn was critical of a "breach of secure information" discovered by another lawmaker, a "no-bid" contract with a consultant on the system, the state allegedly never asking for aid from the US Department of Labor and general constituent difficulty with being processed.
IDES reported last Friday that a glitch in the system built for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), was investigated with the consultant and the state announced that a notification would begin to go out to claimants whose information may have been unintentionally viewed by a single claimant.
However, IDES said that the information, which could have included names, social security numbers, and street addresses associated with PUA claims, was immediately reported by the claimant, was believed to be unintentional and they said there is no indication that any personal information was, or will be, improperly used.
IDES has also issued weekly statements about the vast number of claims they have been able to process in comparison to previous years.
While the daily number of claims processed are touted as progress, Skillicorn criticized saying, "what remains unseen is the number of call attempts that go unanswered and online access that errors out."
Additionally, the legislator criticized the Governor claiming he has continued to "exert authority he does not have constitutionally."
Full statement from Rep. Allen Skillicorn:
Crystal Lake, IL – State Representative Allen Skillicorn announced today he is formally beginning the process to recall Governor JB Pritzker in light of the continued inaction to fix the state’s unemployment claims website.
“The Governor has had ample time to fix this website,” Skillicorn said. “I called him out on it, and nothing has been addressed nor has there been a plan presented to fix the problems. Enough is enough. The incompetence cannot continue.”
Below is a timeline of the Governor’s failings:
- March 21, 2020 – Statewide stay at home order goes into effect.
- April 15, 2020 – CBS 2 in Chicago reports that the State of Illinois was not getting help from the US Department of Labor because the state never asked for the help.
- April 24, 2020 – The State of Illinois enters into a no-bid contract with Deloitte Consulting LLC.
- May 15, 2020 – A breach of secure information is discovered by Rep Bryant who notified the Governor’s office.
- May 22, 2020 – Still no answers. No credit monitoring. The Governor’s office still has not informed victims of the breach.
“The US Department of Labor offered to help Illinois, but our Governor refused the help,” Skillicorn said. “In typical Chicago Democrat fashion, the Governor decided the best way to fix the website was to hand out a lavish no-bid contract. Now secure data has been unleashed into the public domain. It is an epic failure.”
Call Center data obtained from IDES for the period of March 2 through April 28 shows a massive increase in daily calls to the hotline rising from an average of 6500 for the first 10 days to almost 370,000 with the number of agents available to answer those calls increasing from a low of 88 to a high of 122. While the daily number of claims processed are touted as progress, what remains unseen is the number of call attempts that go unanswered and online access that errors out.
“I have constituents who tell me they have dialed in hundreds of times a day for weeks without getting through,” Skillicorn said. “Governor, it’s not the claims your processing, it’s the calls your missing!”
The recently implemented Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is another mess. Hybrid workers who may have had some W2 wages with the bulk of their earnings from contract work are denied PUA because they have had some regular earnings. The self-employed find themselves caught in appeals processes for weeks on end because of confusing guidelines poorly understood and implemented.
Skillicorn said in addition to the Governor’s incompetence on the state’s unemployment claims website, the Governor continues to exert authority he does not have constitutionally. The Governor has tried to criminalize business owners for simply trying to make a living and feed their families. He also has used the occasion of the pandemic to release 4,000 inmates from prison, including 64 prisoners who were convicted of murder.
“The rights of honest business owners are being taken away while our Governor releases murders from prison,” Skillicorn said. The constitutional rights of the people have been usurped long enough. It is time to recall Gov. JB Pritzker.”
Attached is a copy of the Affidavit to initiate the recall effort. The Affidavit must be signed by at least twenty House Members and ten Senators. No more than half the signatures from Members/Senators can be from a single political party in the respective chamber. Once at least the minimum number of required signatures is obtained, this would need to be filed at the State Board of Elections.
From there, Illinois citizens would have 150 days to circulate a recall petition which would require a minimum of 15% of the votes cast for governor in the preceding general election from each of at least 25 counties in order to trigger a recall election. Based on the totals from the last election, there would need to be at least 636,825 signatures collected.