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Director of Oregon Employment Department steps down

Kay Erickson, the head of Oregon’s Employment Department, resigned at Gov. Kate Brown's request.

PORTLAND, Ore. —

Kay Erickson, the head of Oregon’s Employment Department, has resigned at Gov. Kate Brown's request. The OED faces a backlog of tens of thousands of unprocessed unemployment cases.

Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Division Director David Gerstenfeld will immediately take over as interim director of the department.

Brown's office sent out the following press release Sunday afternoon:

Governor Kate Brown announced today that she asked for and has received the resignation of Oregon Employment Department Director Kay Erickson. Effective immediately, David Gerstenfeld, Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Division Director, will serve as interim Director of the Department.

In the middle of this pandemic, the continued delays from the Oregon Employment Department in delivering unemployment insurance benefits to thousands of out-of-work Oregonians are unacceptable,” said Governor Brown. “This is an unprecedented crisis, and the problems at the department demand an urgent response. I’d like to thank Director Erickson for her years of service to the State of Oregon, but it is clear that new leadership is needed.

I have directed the Oregon Employment Department to address the current backlog in unpaid claims, and to clearly communicate the status of any unpaid claims to Oregonians,” said Governor Brown. “In these incredibly stressful times, Oregon families are counting on these benefits. We will make this right. Oregonians will receive the benefits that they are owed.

Gerstenfeld has served as the Paid Family and Medical Leave Division Director in the Department since September of 2019. Prior to that, he had served as Unemployment Insurance Division Director since 2011. He has worked for the State of Oregon since 1997, and received a law degree from Lewis and Clark.

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