By Mike Kruzman /

A local lawmaker who has been critical of Unemployment Insurance Agency leadership hopes its new director can turn things around for the residents.

On Monday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that Julia Dale will transition to director of the UIA. Dale comes from the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, and has recently served in the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. She will be taking over for Liza Estlund Olson, who was named acting director after former director Steve Gray resigned last year.

State Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township has been critical of the UIA’s leadership during the pandemic, and called for Olson’s removal in August. Bollin said in a release, “After months of inaction, the governor has finally responded to the problems that have plagued the state’s unemployment agency and caused unnecessary hardship for so many Michigan families.” She said that despite Olson’s promise to get things back on track, thousands of Michiganders are still waiting on unpaid claims.

Bollin said that she hopes this third try from the governor will finally offer the accountability they have been fighting for so that residents get the unemployment checks they are entitled to.

Whitmer, in a release from her office, said that under Dale’s leadership, she is “confident the UIA will clear the backlog, tackle waste, fraud, and abuse, and get people the resources they need while saving taxpayer dollars.” Olson will remain at UIA temporarily to help with the transition before returning to her previous role as director at the Office of the State Employer.

Dale said she is honored to continue serving Michiganders at the UIA, and “as we emerge from the pandemic, there is so much work to do to ensure that we can deliver benefits to families who need them and I cannot wait to pursue long-overdue changes and work with the incredible staff to get things done.”