Bad To Worse? Staff Cuts Coming For Colorado Dept. Of Labor

Written by Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4)- The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, already overwhelmed with unemployment claims, is preparing to lay off anywhere from 30 to 100 employees.

“It’s going to make things unbearable- they’re already difficult but they’d be unbearable,” said Chris Cartwright of Longmont, who has been on unemployment since he was laid off in February.

Cartwright said the times he has had to call the CDLE for assistance with his unemployment claims, he’s been on hold for about two hours waiting to speak to a live person.

“The hold time is already just too long,” said Cartwright.

Many others of the state’s 137,000 jobless have far worse horror stories saying they have to dial for hours just to get on hold. Could things get worse?

In a July 7 email to CDLE employees, Executive Director Ellen Golombek wrote, “our current budget situation will likely necessitate staff reductions in the Unemployment Insurance section…”

Some federal funding for CDLE jobs has run out, necessitating staff cuts.

On July 6, Golombek wrote to the State Personnel Board informing them of the pending layoffs.

“As we plan for staff reductions in the Unemployment Insurance section, there is a realization that those reductions could have negative unintended consequences affecting customer service throughout the Department. The fact is that reductions will create a challenge this Department, and in particular, this division has not seen in over 20 years,” wrote Golombek.

Cher Haavind, a spokesperson for the Department, said the number of terminations is not yet set in stone and is just a projection at this point. She said longer waits on the phone and more frustration for unemployment claimants is not a certainty.

“It would be premature to draw that conclusion,” said Haavind.

She said the department would try to make many of the cuts to middle and high level managers and leave front line personnel intact.

Haavind said, “We are currently conducting a top-down review of every component of the Colorado’s Unemployment Insurance Program, identifying ways to improve customer service and enhance program efficiencies. We realize our systems need improvement and this review will help us achieve those efficiencies. No decisions have yet been made regarding staffing levels. We were given temporary funding to staff up during the recession and as it is fully expended, we must carefully consider how many staffing cuts need to be made and in which areas while we minimize service impacts.”
In an April, 2011 interview, well before the cuts were known, Executive Director Golombek, said the department was running on fumes.

“It’s overwhelming. The system is overwhelmed,” explained Golombek.

She said in 2008 there were 30,000 Coloradans with active unemployment claims, but due to the economic downturn, that number grew to 137,000 this year.

On Wednesday, Chris Cartwright described his job search by saying, ‘It’s a challenge’.

The same can be said of the newest hurdles facing CDLE.

DOCUMENTS: CDLE employee email and letter sent to State Personnel Board

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  • Linda Hall Houle

    This is so wrong!! How could the state or Federal Government do this to us again!! My son is one of those that has to wait on the phone OVER 3 Hours just to get his unemployment going again!! I think that the Governor needs to call their 1 800# from a private residence phone and see how LONG it takes them to ANSWER HIS CALL!! Our economy is getting worse not better, especially up here in the mountains and down in the Cities!! This just infuriates me even more to hear that more people are going to lose their jobs, Now they will be calling their own CUB Lines See how they like that.. Horrible system, and you cannot do a lot of this stuff online at all, it just tells you that you have to call them and speak to a LIVE PERSON…

  • Hal

    I wonder why they don’t do like what happened in our company. EVERY employee took a 25% pay cut…that kept us going for a year. Then we went to reduced hours schedule which cut us another 25%. OK, so 50% pay cut for everyone. At least we still had jobs for another year. I really wonder just how many of those in management at Unemployment are willing to make the same sacrifices. I have been unemployed for over a year. I wonder how many state or federal employees are willing to go with reduced pay. I will work for 50% of what they are paying them. I can start immediately.

  • tk

    And then you’ll be ok when someone takes that job from you because they can do it for 75% less? When the new job numbers come out they will reflect all the gov employees laid off because this nation voted a bunch of know nothing tea baggers into congress. We reap what a bunch of idiots sow.

  • Kilgore Trout

    Citizens of Colorado, your lovely TABOR amendment hard at work.

  • market works

    that is how market system works. system will take lowest priced labor.. if the lower paid individual sucks in performance, market will adjust and pay little more and get better worker..

  • Steve Stevenson

    Is this before or after the 150 staff that have left or quit over the past year due to this being an unbearable place to work?

  • Bob Dobalina

    Did the executive team get to read this article while they are currently on an executive retreat to Breckenridge on the tax payer dollar? That would have actually made this a better article if it were included

  • Ricardo Montalbon

    I guess the good news is that this pathetic excuse for a government agency couldnt actually get any worse. Their wait times are already manipulated and at pretty much the worse they could be as well as their claims processing times. They are already the worst at benefits accuracy in the country. Id say this is a good time to cut some of those slothly government employees loose too.

  • Pepe Le F.U.

    Oh the irony of 30-100 of these land monsters having to experience the other end of their nightmare. Isn’t it ironic. Don’t you think? I love how laying off their employees will actually increase their workload. Humble pie to the face!!!

  • Red State Revolutionary

    This must be Gollom’s response to her last snarky performance of the benefits accuracy being “unacceptable”. No wonder she said it with such a snide grin. She knew she was about to make it worse. Good pick Hick. Great appointee I must say. You should be very proud of yourself

  • Ha Ha Ha

    CDLE’S motto, “Striving to be slightly Better than the Virgin Islands”

  • DWilliams

    This is a joke. My brother applied 7 weeks ago. Calls weekly. Has not been approved. Their response is to read from the manual. Shameful, our government is shameful! These are good people, paid into the system and get treated so shabbily. Come on Mr. Obama..where is the compassion for people wanting to work but can’t find anything AND can’t get their unemployment?

  • Tonto

    So let me get this straight, Wasnt there just an article about how terrible this place was at getting their job done due to limited resources? Now they are having to get rid of more resources? I guess either way it cant get any worse. 30-100 less of these government slobs is a win for the good guys. Have you ever talked to these people? They might as well outsource to India. At least there I wont have to press 1 for Spanish and quicker service. What a taint stain Hick has become.

  • Captain America

    Way to go Hickenlooper. Are you bringing in the illegals to do their jobs cheap like you used to do with your businesses?

  • Bob Dobalina


  • Disgusted with your face

    I heard all their call center staff are the first to go. What a crock. Its like laying off your sales force when you need more money. Great decision Gollombeck. You are like Obama, blame it on the previous guy while you are the one still messing everything up. You should lose your job with the 30-100. Jerk

  • Conan

    What a previous poster said is right. If you need assistance with your claim you need to contact your local representatve or hammer the citizens advocacy team with the governors office. I did this when I needed help. Its a great way to cut to the front of the line and get the help you need. Make it happen people. Call them daily anyway to let them know its a problem.

  • Tea Party Express

    Maybe a lot of the unemployed will die off in this heat wave and alleviate the wait times. I agree with Get a Job. Go learn a skill, open a business or find something to do. Volunteer, do something. Move. Get a Mcjob. Learn to juggle. Its not that hard people. Your parents would be ashamed and so would our forefathers.

  • Rick Garcia


  • A Real Person?

    Wait? Some people actually get through to a real person? Every time I try calling the stupid automated system hangs up on me! How do you get a hold of a real person?

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