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Turmoil at the top: DETR announces leadership changes and top administrator is out

Posted at 7:00 AM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-05 22:03:24-04

UPDATE SEPT. 4: Acting DETR Director Elisa Cafferata confirms that both the administrator and deputy administrator are out.

Per Cafferata, Jeffrey Frischmann, the previous Deputy Administrator of the Employment Security Division, has returned to DETR on a contracted basis. He will be taking over for Administrator Kimberly Gaa, who is "currently out of the office on an extended leave." No reason was given for Gaa's leave of absence.

The shake-up also includes DETR administration's second in command, Acting Deputy Administrator Brian Braken. Scott Kennedy, who retired earlier this year as Unemployment Insurance Operations Chief, has returned on a contracted basis and will be stepping into Brian Bracken’s role. Mr. Bracken is retiring effective September 11, 2020.

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- The Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation, known as DETR, confirms it will announce "leadership updates" by the end of this week.

Multiple sources tell 13 Investigates that administrator Kimberly Gaa is gone. Gaa oversees the state's Unemployment Insurance program, which is responsible for collecting employment taxes and paying benefits.

RELATED: Former insiders dispute DETR claim computer system is antiquated

She has led virtual press briefings and attended others held by the governor, all amid criticism by insiders that she's unable to stem the systemic disarray at DETR.

The agency has struggled under an unprecedented wave of unemployment claims and is still fighting a class-action lawsuit over its Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program designed for gig workers.

The department has also experienced turnover at its highest levels. DETR is on its third director in five months and its deputy director resigned in mid-July.

RELATED: Judge denies mandate for DETR to pay PUA claimants together, order for specific groups stands

We recently asked Acting Director Elisa Cafferata about staffing at the agency. As DETR's third director since the pandemic began, she said she's reviewing staffing plans, vendors, and contracts.

"I'm not in a position to comment on any specific contract or any specific vendor other than to say our goal is to reevaluate everything right now and line up the resources with the priority tasks," she said.

TIMELINE: Nevada Dept. of Employment and handling of pandemic unemployment claims

Gaa was appointed as administrator for the employment security division in August of 2019 and has been with DETR since 2012.

DETR demanding money back from already struggling legit claimants

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