After months on leave, state director charged with overseeing jobless benefits resigns

After months on leave, state director charged with overseeing jobless benefits resigns
In a press conference Wednesday, Labor Department Director Scott Murakami said that last week hackers tried to break into state unemployment computers.

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state director in charge of the agency that oversees the distribution of jobless benefits has resigned, months after being directed by the governor to take leave.

In a news release Monday, the Governor’s Office announced that Scott Murakami resigned Aug. 5.

The governor directed him to take leave on June 1.

“I ordered Director Murakami to take some time off because as you know he was under tremendous pressure,” Gov. David Ige said at a news conference in June.

“In meeting and talking with him, I decided it would be best that he take some time off for himself and his family. I ordered him to stay away.”

Murakami had served as Labor and Industrial Relations director since January 2019.

He oversaw the first several months of the state’s problem-plagued response to the huge spike in unemployment because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the release, Ige thanked him for his service and said Murakami was “under tremendous pressure” because of the unprecedented flood of jobless claims. “I felt that he deserved some time off,” Ige said on Monday. “He has decided to resign from his position.”

Anne E. Perreira-Eustaquio will serve as acting director for 60 days or until the position is filled. She has served as the agency’s deputy director since Oct. 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, Ige announced the appointment of former state Rep. Isaac Choy to serve as interim director of the state Department of Taxation.

This story will be updated.

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