Labor Department Commissioner Robert Assara-Angela said he remains behind on his actions against the state unemployment system and unfulfilled demands during more than a two-hour intensive interrogation Thursday at the Senate Labor Committee and Senate Majority Leader Theresa Ruiz.

Dissatisfaction with the Department of Labor and Labor Development reached a fever last week when the Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution calling on Governor Phil Murphy to immediately eliminate unemployment debts and reopen public offices.

Employees of the department did not fully return to personal work, and the process of submitting documents remained virtual.

Asara-Angela told the Unemployment Committee that agents will start helping applicants starting March 28 at the only career centers to help with appointment.

His department, the Assara-Angela Committee said, has always sought to help most people by paying the maximum amount of benefits in the shortest possible time, as the department’s staff assisted applicants virtually through online and telephone services.

That’s not enough, the committee members told him.

Senators sitting on the Labor Committee have told Asar-Angela about the many voters who have called their offices seeking help on unemployment claims over the past two years and hope to set up face-to-face meetings to help.

Robert Asara-Angela, Labor Leader and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Labor Development at a daily briefing in Trenton, New Jersey, May 7, 2020.

Senator Joseph Lagana (D-Bergen) said he had so many calls that he called his office a “companion” to the Department of Labor.

Ruiz (D-Essex) agreed that appointments starting March 28 were not enough.

“It’s hard for me to keep hearing the same number, the same thing and not have a bigger plan,” Ruiz said. “I ask you to do something else. I know you already have this preconceived notion in your head, which you think is imbued with facts, but we all get a completely different picture … what will happen, people who have dates, will disappear, and people who think the office is just open will show up. ”

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