SCDEW “Regionalizing” Services

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) is blaming a loss of federal funding for its decision to stop offering in-person unemployment insurance services at sixteen rural locations. “Because of continued decreases in federal funding, DEW will regionalize some of its in-person unemployment insurance services starting Feb. 15,” an…

unemployment office

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) is blaming a loss of federal funding for its decision to stop offering in-person unemployment insurance services at sixteen rural locations.

“Because of continued decreases in federal funding, DEW will regionalize some of its in-person unemployment insurance services starting Feb. 15,” an agency memo obtained by FITS reveals. “DEW remains deeply committed to reemployment efforts, excellent customer service and businesses throughout South Carolina. We appreciate your patience and support while working through this transition.”

The announcement comes three days after the agency – which is part of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s cabinet – announced it was laying off seventy-five employees. Sources tell FITS the employees being laid off are “people working the front lines with customers.” Meanwhile the agency’s upper management – led by retired general Abraham Turner – continues to add staff and enjoy lavish taxpayer-funded retreats.

And of course none of these resource reallocations result in savings for taxpayers … because in the Palmetto State there is currently no mechanism to rebate surpluses or “savings” back to the people who fund government in the first place.

Anyway, SCDEW received $231 million in the current fiscal year budget. The agency is still paying down a massive $933 million tab it owes the federal government for recession-era unemployment benefits. Most of this debt is being repaid in the form of tax hikes on businesses, although Haley and the “Republican-controlled” S.C. General Assembly decided in 2011 to shift $146 million of this burden directly onto the backs of individual taxpayers.


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ICOMMUTE1.5HOURSTWODAYSAWEEK February 4, 2013 at 1:27 pm

you would think Catherine Templeton was running SCDEW too. highly paid “friends in upper-management ” while closing free rural offices within county buildings. DHEC now has workers driving 40 to 45 minutes from their centralized offices to check restaurants in the “rural county” they actually work in.

Sweep the Deck February 4, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I believe she mostly got rid of managers. That being almost never a bad thing.

ICOMMUTE1.5HOURSTWODAYSAWEEK February 4, 2013 at 1:32 pm


Mary February 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Just another way for the front line people to get fired and the fat cats to make more money.

inciteful February 4, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Check it out on the proposed state budget for the department. Turner’s INCREASING the Administrative portion of his proposed budget by 39% while cutting the folks out providing the services.

Joe Blow February 4, 2013 at 3:15 pm

So, state with one of highest jobless rates is cutting back on unemployment services and what makes even more sense, counties with the highest jobless rates are losing their offices.
You can’t make this stuff up people.

honeydo February 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm

While I have nothing “good” to say about the SCDEW, in this case, I have to defend the action. Two of the offices being closed are the Ridgeland and Hampton offices. At one time, the Ridgeland office was considered a satellite office and was only open one day per week as the number of customers utilizing that office just did not justify being open full-time. One of the commissioners for the agency got involved due to “politics” and POOF, it was opened full-time. The Bluffton office was subsequently closed, which DID have the numbers to justify being open full-time and suddenly anyone in Bluffton/Hilton Head had to either travel to Beaufort or Ridgeland for services. Most of those needing services opted to travel to Beaufort instead of Ridgeland so the traffic in the Beaufort office drastically increased and the Ridgeland traffic stayed pretty much the same. That office remained open full-time, even though the numbers did not justify being a full-time, full-service office, and was fully staffed until this recently announced closing. I, along with most everyone else who has commented, am appauled that the SCDEW would continue to hire persons in “upper-management” positions at high dollar salaries while cutting “front-line” positions. Those “front-line” staff in the local offices are for the most part (there are always exceptions)some of the hardest working people in that agency and contrary to what some believe, are paid low wage salaries with benefits that many can no longer afford. Much of the clientele are difficult to place (in jobs) and are difficult to work with. In other words, the front-line staff take alot of abuse and are the least appreciated. Anyone speaking negatively about those staff need to spend just one day in their shoes (my guess is they wouldn’t make it a full day)!

Dan February 4, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Well said, and true.

reds February 5, 2013 at 5:57 pm

some of those in upper management need to spend a day in an unemployment office to see exactly what those front line people have to put up with and to see how hard the majority of them work. I agree, they would not make it a day. If they cut three of them in upper management they could save 25 to 30 of those 75 from being laid off.

upset February 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm

How the hell is this General and gov getting away with this????

Upset#2 February 4, 2013 at 6:00 pm

No clue.

OohPlease February 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm

. SCDEW has plenty of money to buy teleconferencing and satellite equipment for tuner’s town hall meetings. I guess that’s where all their money went.

Smirks February 5, 2013 at 8:45 am

Err… How much of the “in person” services could be handled over the internet? No, seriously, how feasible is this? Even though unemployed people may not have access to the internet, their local library probably does, meaning a rural county resident could just go to their closest library. You could just give them instructions through the mail if you need to.

Given the person or library has a decent enough connection to the internet, you could possibly even set up a video conference with them using some kind of online client. They could type their questions or responses over the internet or just call in. I imagine that would solve most of the “in person” things and it could be centralized with minimal costs.

OohPlease also has a great concept, you could do the same with seminars and the like by scheduling video conferencing at the local town hall. It wouldn’t require much of an internet connection, just a reliable one with decent bandwidth. Town halls and libraries usually have the resources to accommodate this, why not use those resources when they are available?

This is fairly simple stuff. It really just requires putting a few people already employed by DEW to work it, purchasing a bit of equipment to run it, and getting the IT crew to set it up. You could possibly even get federal funding to pay for part, if not all, of it.

reds February 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Most people in rural areas may have access to a computer or their library however alot of them require help operating them. Individuals are provided information on how to file claims, file for their weekly benefits, look for work and the majority of them do not even look at the information provided.

shifty henry February 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm

SCDEW could designate employees as “circuit riders” to establish dates, times and locations for folks to come in for personal help. Some people are better at absorbing information verbally, and some have difficulties in reading and writing. We post here, but we are proficient with pc’s, typing, and searching articles from one page to another.

During my Navy years a few guys were given their tests for promotion verbally, with the examiner reading the questions. Some jobs only require the ability to do it, and do it well.


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