Sen. Anthony M. Bucco said it is time for Governor Phil Murphy to restore all state government services and personnel to pre-pandemic levels.
“We always hear from constituents who have MVC issues and unemployment issues, and they go to agency offices where they’re denied help or told to go somewhere else,” Bucco (R -25). “With the rest of New Jersey returning to normal, there is no excuse for state employees to continue to work from home or for a full range of services not to be offered in every location. “
Bucco pointed to the Motor Vehicle Commission’s classification of agencies as licensing centers or vehicle centers that only process certain types of transactions as an unnecessary inconvenience to drivers that should end.
“As the MVC was processing a massive backlog of months of closures in 2020, it made sense to let agencies temporarily focus on certain types of transactions to help process the backlog a little faster,” Bucco said. “Today, however, customers realize that it’s a major drawback not to have all MVC services offered at every location. In many cases, drivers go to the wrong place or are forced to travel long distances for services that were previously offered at their local agency. What made sense when agencies reopened in July 2020 doesn’t make much sense today. »
He noted that Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40) announced new legislation today to address this issue after hearing complaints from constituents.
Similarly, Bucco pointed to the failure of the New Jersey Department of Labor (DOL) to focus customer-facing offices on the services most requested by New Jerseyans. People who desperately need help battling unemployment are being diverted from DOL’s one-stop career centers and told to try again through the same online and telephone systems that have repeatedly failed them.
“We continue to hear from New Jersey residents who are beyond frustrated that the Murphy administration is refusing to offer unemployed walk-in help at labor offices,” Bucco said. “For some reason their claims are frozen or they can’t get straight answers through the online unemployment system or over the phone. All they need is five minutes in front of a living person to get help resetting their request, proving their identity, or getting a question answered. Instead, the Murphy administration will only offer career services at these offices, not the in-person unemployment assistance that people keep asking for. It’s a stubborn refusal by the administration to listen to what the people of New Jersey really want. There are no excuses.
Those unemployment concerns were echoed today by Sen. Michael Testa (R-1) and the 1st Legislative District delegation at a press conference where new legislation was announced to require NJDOL to offer in-person unemployment services.
Bucco said he hears the same story repeated by constituents trying to contact executive branch departments and agencies for various concerns, including social services, licensing, taxation, and more.
The Murphy administration’s failure to return all executive branch employees to their offices by the October 18, 2021 deadline set by the governor last summer has been widely reported.
“New Jerseyans are beyond frustrated that no one is home and the lights still appear to be off in many Murphy administration offices,” Bucco added. “Governor Murphy needs to get everyone in his administration back to work now.”