Inslee Names Longtime Leader to Head Embattled Washington Unemployment Agency

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OLYMPIA — A longtime Washington state government employee will lead the state's unemployment agency, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday.

Cami Feek, acting commissioner of the state Employment Security Department since February, now has the position officially.

"Cami will continue to to prioritize connecting employers with a strong workforce and ensure families and individuals experiencing job loss have the resources they need," Inslee said. "Her leadership through the COVID pandemic and strong advocacy on behalf of ESD employees, claimants and job-seekers has further demonstrated her ability to move ESD into a new phase."

Feek, who has worked in state government for 25 years, was deputy commissioner and chief operating officer for the agency for the past three years.

She was named acting commissioner after then Commissioner Suzi LeVine announced in January that she would leave the state for a position in the Biden administration in February.

LeVine oversaw the state agency during a period of dramatic change and extraordinary crisis, coming under fire for the agency's handling of the surge of unemployment claims during the pandemic.

She came under heavy criticism for the agency's handling of the wave of unemployment claims filed by jobless workers during the pandemic, as well as a massive fraud scheme that siphoned off some $600 million in benefits last spring.

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