INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Fred Payne is stepping down as commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
Payne’s last day will be July 8 after being appointed in 2017.
On July 18, he will join the United Way of Central Indiana as president and CEO.
“From the moment he stepped up to lead the Department of Workforce Development, Fred Payne put his wealth of knowledge, innovative approach and contagious optimism to work,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement. “Throughout the unforeseen challenges of the past few years, Fred has adeptly propelled this agency to provide not only unemployment benefits, but training that has helped thousands of Hoosiers pursue training pathways that have led to careers and helped unleash their full potential.”
Payne faced intense scrutiny in 2021 after a series of I-Team 8 reports on the unemployment crisis in Indiana.
I-Team 8 exposed how Payne’s department had demanded thousands of Hoosiers repay pandemic unemployment benefits to the state, benefits they had been eligible to receive.
Some of the repayment demands topped $12,000 per person.
After the I-Team 8 investigation, the DWD began touting unemployment overpayment waivers. In April of 2022, the department told I-Team 8 it had now waived more than $7 million dollars in overpayment requests.
Payne leaves Indiana DWD; moves to United Way of Central Indiana