Kansas governor announces new acting secretary of labor

Kansas Department of Labor in Topeka, Kansas
Kansas Department of Labor in Topeka, Kansas(KWCH)
Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 4:49 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) - For the second time in six months, there’s a change at the top for the Kansas Department of Labor. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly on Tuesday (Dec. 22) named Deputy Secretary of the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) Brett Flachsbarth as the Acting Secretary of Labor. At least for an interim basis, Flachsbarth takes over for Ryan Wright who served as Acting Secretary following the June resignation of KDOL Secretary Delia Garcia.

Flachsbarth joined the Kansas Department of Labor in 2005 as a member of the agency’s legal team. He was appointed to Deputy Secretary of Labor in January 2019. Currently, is a member and former Chair of the Steering Committee for the Information and Technology Support Center, “a nationwide collaboration between state agencies and the United States Department of Labor to advance the effective use of technology within the unemployment insurance system,” a news release from the governor’s office said.

Flachsbarth is a graduate of the University of Kansas and Washburn University School of Law.

“Brett is a Department of Labor veteran, and he knows the ins-and-outs of the issues KDOL faces,” Governor Kelly said. “I’m confident he will be able to continue the progress made and ensure Kansas families receive the relief they need.”

Despite ongoing issues relating to record unemployment and the distribution of claims well beyond anything the department’s experienced before, Kelly said the Kansas Department of Labor “has made significant progress in the last six months.” This includes instituting a program that has stopped more than 200,000 fraudulent claims, paying out more than $3.4 million weekly claims since March 215, totaling more than $2.4 billion, and “(making) significant progress on the backlog of claims.”

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