Sunday, December 4th, 2022
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MADISON — Former Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman received the state employee benefits he was owed a lot faster than many of the people stuck in Gov. Tony Evers’ dysfunctional Unemployment Insurance system did, according to records obtained by Wisconsin Spotlight.

Evers fired Frostman on Sept. 18, six months after a flood of unemployment claims and bad press hit DWD in the wake of the pandemic and the administration’s accompanying statewide lockdown.

While Frostman doesn’t appear to have received a settlement after he “resigned,” he was owed 8,204.87, before tax withholdings. The compensation was calculated from the nearly 120 hours apparently due to the former cabinet secretary for hours of accrued leave (sick leave and other time off). It’s based on his pay rate of $68.66 an hour, for an annual salary of more than $142,000 a year, as Wisconsin Spotlight has reported.

After taxes of $2.935.01 and deductions of $5,255.88, Frostman’s net pay was noted as $13.98, according to the payroll documents.

“The amount of $13.98 in the upper-right-hand corner reflects a final payment issued by Central Payroll, once final calculations and withholdings were complete,” the state Department of Administration noted in a letter. A DOA official did not provide follow-up information upon request.

The whole matter appears to have been settled in a little over a month.

That’s a far sight faster than the time it took for DWD to settle thousands of claims from out-of-work Wisconsinite’s waiting months for the Unemployment Insurance payments they were owed.

Like Joshua Kuehn, who in mid-January had been waiting more than 300 days for the thousands of dollars he’s owed. The 42-year-old West Allis man applied for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) on March 17. He says the state Department of Workforce Development approved his claim in July, but, like so many others, he heard nothing from the agency for months.

Wisconsin Spotlight has profiled stories of people who were on the brink of financial collapse, some who were forced into homelessness, while they waited for their claims to be processed.

An audit released in December by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) lays bare DWD’s many failures, including the fact the agency did not resolve issues with claims “even though it had the information to do so and because DWD had not requested information it needed from individuals and employers.”

But the Evers administration was able to resolve in a timely fashion the compensation claims of DWD’s fired secretary.

See the records here.

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