State starting over to upgrade unemployment computer system

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky is dealing with another major delay in replacing its antiquated computer system at the Office of Unemployment Insurance.

The state recently canceled the latest request for proposals for the upgrade project and reluctantly decided to start over, Education and Labor Cabinet Secretary Jamie Link said Thursday.

Proposals by interested vendors were due by Oct. 19 of last year for the estimated $47.5 million upgrade, projected to take 18 to 24 months to complete, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

“We had — in good faith, we had procured a new vendor,” Link told a legislative panel.

“We had gone through negotiations,” he said. “Everybody was in agreement. We had the contract, we sent it to the vendor to sign. And they completely went silent on us. We made numerous efforts to contact the vendor, repeatedly. They would not respond to us at all.”

The cabinet learned two “people affiliated with that vendor” were indicted by a federal grand jury, Link said.

The cabinet’s new schedule is to issue another request for proposals by the end of September, and the timeline to complete the project is now 36 to 42 months, Link said.

The unemployment insurance office struggled to handle a crush of jobless claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Register for our Birthday/Anniversary Club!!