Crisis highlights state’s tech problems

COVID-19 is reminding us that many mundane aspects of governing actually matter, and that leaving unglamorous problems insufficiently addressed can come back to bite us.

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Opinion

April 17, 2020 - 3:49 PM

COVID-19 is reminding us that many mundane aspects of governing actually matter, and that leaving unglamorous problems insufficiently addressed can come back to bite us. The information technology (IT) problems facing the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) perfectly illustrate this.

Patrick Miller

Many Kansans have lost jobs in this crisis. Governor Kelly announced this week that 130,000 Kansans filed initial unemployment insurance claims in recent weeks. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that this is “a 3,400% increase over the same week last year” and that online claims are up nearly 7,000%.

That sheer volume is overwhelming KDOL. In just one day recently, per media reports, 877,000 attempted calls hit KDOL’s 200 phone lines. That’s sufficient capacity for most normal days, but not in this crisis.

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