OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission on Tuesday announced that interim director Shelley Zumwalt has been named executive director of the agency.

The former budget analyst and communications director at the Office of Management and Enterprise Services had been named the commission’s interim director in May after Robin Roberson’s resignation.

The agency said in a news release that since Zumwalt became interim director the number of pending unemployment claims has been reduced from more than 120,000 to between 5,000 and 10,000.

Twitter / @OESCnews

Shelley Zumwalt, interim director of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, spoke with KWGS about the agency's claims processing event at Expo Square this week, improving the agency's technology, dealing with fraudulent claims, making sure unemployment is a temporary stopgap and not a disincentive for Oklahomans to return to work, and more. 

Details on Expo Square event:

Twitter / @OESCnews

The interim director of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says the agency will be using what it has learned at its past claims processing events in other cities to assist Tulsans with their unemployment benefits.

"We've figured out how to efficiently get through 500-plus people and help them with their claims and make sure that their issues are answered," said Shelley Zumwalt, who was tapped to lead the agency by Gov. Kevin Stitt in May.

Twitter / @OESCnews

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission will host a two-day claims processing event in Tulsa.

The unemployment agency will be at Expo Square in Tulsa on July 15th and 16th. OESC has previously held six days of similar events in the Oklahoma City area.

OESC says agents will be on hand to assist claimants with a wide range of issues, including fraudulent claims and federal pandemic assistance payments.

Individuals seeking assistance are encouraged to start lining up at 6:00 a.m. each day. OESC estimates it will be able to assist up to 400 people each day.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Responding to complaints from Oklahomans across the state who say they're struggling to receive unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic, a state cabinet secretary said Tuesday that many issues and delays are being caused by the applicants themselves.

"The biggest issue that we've seen that's causing people to get - either they get paid one week and then it stalls, or they stall completely, are inconsistencies or incomplete information," said David Ostrowe, Governor Kevin Stitt's Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration. 

From Flickr, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford and the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission's executive director, Robin Roberson, hosted a telephone town hall on Tuesday to answer constituent questions regarding relief programs to address the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Introducing Roberson, Lankford said "she handles and coordinates unemployment insurance for our state."