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With longtime Idaho Department of Labor Director Roger Madsen's planned retirement taking effect today, Gov. Butch Otter has announced his pick for the new director: Ken Edmunds, a Twin Falls business consultant and current member of the state Board of Education. Madsen, an attorney and former state senator, was first appointed to the post by Gov. Phil Batt in 1995; the next three governors, Dirk Kempthorne, Jim Risch and Otter, all retained him in the post.
“The Department of Labor has had extraordinary leadership under Roger for 18 years," Otter said in his announcement. "I’m confident that Ken will continue that tradition of excellence while bringing valuable perspective to the job of helping prepare Idaho’s workforce for the future.” He added, "Ken’s years on the Board of Education and his private-sector experience will be critically important in positioning the Department of Labor to advance its collaborative efforts with the education and economic development communities and Idaho employers.”
Edmunds has served on the Board of Education since 2008. He holds a master’s degree in accounting from BYU, and has had his own business, financial and real estate consulting business, Edmunds Group, for the past 25 years. His current state board term runs through 2018, so Otter will need to appoint a replacement to the board. Click below for Otter's full announcement.
Edmunds, 58, said he became interested in the job through his interest and work on workforce development and improving Idaho's economy through various state board projects. "It turns out if anything I probably have greater opportunities for workforce development and growing the economy through the Idaho Department of Labor than I would have in any other venue," he said. "It's an exciting opportunity and really just gives me a chance to pursue some of the things that I've become very focused on through the Board of Education."
Edmunds will start on Nov. 25; his salary has not been set yet. "We'll work it out - it's a detail," he said. "It's going to be hard to fill Roger's shoes." Said Edmunds, "He's done a wonderful job. The department is probably as well respected an entity as you're going to find."
The Idaho Human Rights Commission has scheduled a public forum for a week from tomorrow in Canyon County, to hear public comments about human rights work and issues in the county, followed by a reception honoring the recipients of two top awards: Former Gov. Phil Batt, who will receive the Human Rights Lifetime Achievement Award, and Idaho Department of Labor Director Roger Madsen, who will receive the Humanitarian Award.
The commission will meet Oct. 29 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Caldwell at the College of Idaho, Simplot Dining Commons, south dining room; its open forum will run from 1-3 p.m., with the reception from 3-4. Among those scheduled to speak at the open forum are the heads of the Nampa Housing Authority and the Idaho Office on Aging and Mexican Consul Guillermo Ordorica.
Roger Madsen, director of the Idaho Department of Labor (IDOL), on Tuesday echoed statements made in late October by two GOP legislators to reduce the number of unemployment weeks. Madsen, in a letter made public by the department, advises lawmakers to reject federal funds for extended unemployment benefits. His view echoes comments made to IdahoReporter.com by Reps. Steve Thayn and Lynn Luker, who said reducing the amount of unemployment benefits is a must for the Gem State. Idaho is one of a handful of states allowing up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits/Mitch Coffman, Idaho Reporter. More here.
Question: Should Idaho reduce its number of weeks for unemployment benefits?
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The head of the Idaho Department of Labor is urging lawmakers to resist the urge to extend unemployment benefits again. Labor Department Director Roger Madsen made his appeal in a letter sent to Congress and state lawmakers Monday and in advance of Thursday's congressional hearing on unemployment insurance. Madsen says he's concerned about unemployed Idahoans. But he says state business owners need to regain confidence in the program — and the best way to do that is to better manage the federal budget. He says the goal of the department is getting people working so they can receive a paycheck instead of monthly benefits. Since the recession's start, an estimated 150,000 Idaho workers have received more than $750 million in federal extended benefits beyond the basic 10 to 26 weeks. You can read Madsen's full letter here.