Jobless? Maybe Verizon could hire people to call this number

SACRAMENTO — California's Employment Development Department rang up another $1.1 million phone bill in February by playing a recorded message for jobless people who fail to reach operators at California's unemployment insurance call centers.

The state pays Verizon 5 cents each time the message plays, even if a person hangs up and redials without listening to it.

EDD defends the expense, but two top members of an Assembly committee created to root out waste and inefficiency in state government said Friday it's time legislators took a look at what's going on.

"That's just ridiculous," said Hector De La Torre, a South Gate Democrat who chairs the Assembly's new accountability and administrative review committee.

"If you have a contract that sets up the government to fail this way, we need to change the way we do business. I think we need to have a hearing on this," De La Torre said.

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