California EDD director Sharon Hilliard to retire at the end of the year

The director of California's troubled Employment Development Department (EDD) is stepping aside amid a wave of turmoil. Sharon Hilliard announced she is retiring at the end of the year after 37 years at the embattled agency -- a career she started at age 19, and never left.

Her decision comes at the end of a tumultuous period for the unemployment service agency, which has been plagued by problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Millions of Californians who were left without jobs due to the closure of businesses found themselves frustrated, dealing with long wait times, huge lags in payments, and numerous instances of website glitches.

Others shared stories of their bank accounts being drained or receiving letters and debit cards addressed to someone else.

In September, the California Legislature approved an emergency audit of the EDD after state legislators raised concerns over its backlog of unemployment claims and reports of fraud and abuse.

In a statement, Hilliard said, "It has been my privilege to be part of the Employment Development Department (EDD) team since the day I walked into the EDD building over 37 years ago... I retire knowing that EDD is on a great path to success."

Her retirement is effective December 31, 2020.
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