Editorial: Service failure

January 4, 2013


Sometimes you just don’t want to kick ‘em when they’re down. Then there are other times!

This is one of those others.

Something seems dreadfully wrong with the public-facing, client-oriented operations of the Kansas Department of Labor. It’s gone on long enough, so that even though the department is in the unfortunate position of defending itself while being ripped by its customers, maybe it’s deserved, and this won’t be construed as piling on.

The issue involves the telephone and Internet capabilities the department offers Kansans who are supposed to make periodic contact with it to process unemployment benefits, to apply for benefits, etc. Complaints about an inability to get through to the department by phone were proliferating earlier this week.

Cassie Sparks, communications director for the department, offered no excuses. “We know it’s frustrating,” she said.

She attributed the trouble to an influx of calls from people who’ve been laid off during the winter months and said the department is processing “tens of thousands of calls a day.”

Maybe there’s something to the explanation, but it doesn’t take much research to find similar complaints from 2010, and that was well before the department itself axed 85 jobs during the past summer.

Sparks suggested that people turn to the Internet, if at all possible. However, on the department’s own Facebook page Wednesday morning, an apology for trouble with its online system was prominently displayed.

Certainly problems can occur for any business or organization. Everyone understands that. It’s how they’re handled that matters. And good grief! It’s beyond time for resolving these issues. Somebody in Topeka needs to take ownership of the situation, identify the contributing circumstances, and then get this situation straightened out.

Hello, Topeka! Is anybody listening?


somebodynew 5 years, 3 months ago

"....identify the contributing circumstances....."

Answer: the current Administration.

There, I helped you out.

sciencegeek 5 years, 3 months ago

The previous Secretary of Labor, an appointee and true believer of the current governor, was known to state that they didn't believe in unemployment insurance. And so, if they couldn't get through to the department, they couldn't pay unemployment now, could they? Which is why there was no problem in eliminating all those positions.

This is an example of the governor's recently stated "no reduction in service" in reference to another department. No reduction to him, maybe, but a definite decrease to vendors, other employees and the general public.

Reduced government has a price.

4getabouit 5 years, 3 months ago

How shocking!

Brownback cuts back state government until it fails to serve the people. Gee....didn't see this one coming. But wait, as they say..."the best is yet to come." Or, in this case, the worst is yet to come.

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