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Labor Secretary Kathy Manderino departs for Gaming Control Board post


Kathy Manderino, the state labor secretary who found herself in the middle of a long-simmering battle over the state’s unemployment compensation system, will leave the post as of Aug. 1.

The former state lawmaker and public education advocate will join the state’s Gaming Control Board. Gov. Tom Wolf named Robert O’Brien, the Department of Labor and Industry’s executive deputy secretary, as acting secretary.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment insurance woes preceded Manderino. The department’s outmoded computer system is decades old. Promised upgrades to improve the delivery of services began in 2006, during the Rendell administration, but never fully materialized.

In a report released earlier this year, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the department failed to properly track how nearly $180 million was spent on the system between 2013 and 2016. 

Manderino was appointed by Wolf and subsequently confirmed by the state Senate in May 2015. 

A showdown between the administration and Senate Republicans over the upgrades led to the December furlough of about 500 employees from the state’s unemployment call centers. That resulted in a spike in wait times for Pennsylvanians attempting to navigate the unemployment systems.

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PA Workforce Development Association