“Sometimes there are going to be errors:” VEC head responds to private document dump

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Just 15 hours after 8News aired a second investigation into how a Henrico woman inadvertently had access to sensitive documents via her online profile with the Virginia Employment Commission, the commissioner of the beleaguered state agency said “sometimes there are going to be errors.”

VEC Commissioner Carrie Roth answered questions Friday afternoon after her agency provided no explanation for three weeks, how a 90-page document dump ended up on Sierra Williams’ online profile after filing an unemployment claim.

“There is an enormous amount of information that does come to the agency. And, yes, we want everything to be done exactly right. But when you have that volume of information, sometimes there going to be errors, and the responsibility is on us to fix that error which we did immediately that day,” Roth said Friday.

The error, which was since been fixed, put the personal information of 16 people in jeopardy.

Roth agreed to answer questions from 8News reporter Jackie DeFusco Friday, but a spokesperson denied reporter Ben Dennis’ multiple requests for an interview with the commissioner after reporter Ben Dennis went to the VEC in person to try and get answers.

Wednesday and Thursday 8News arrived at the VEC headquarters to seek answers after receiving the cold shoulder from VEC Spokesperson Joyce Fogg, only to be kicked out by a security guard.

On both days, the security guard did not explain why 8News could not be inside the building where a public state agency is based.

While the VEC was sent unrelated documents from people in several states by an unemployment verification group, the VEC still passed it on to Williams’ profile.

Roth did say why the issue was not spotted before the information was uploaded, but she made something clear several times during Friday’s interview–the VEC took down the information, yet she still did not detail how the oversight was missed.

“When that [8News initial investigation] was brought to our attention, we fixed the issue,” she said.

“The responsibility is on us to fix that error, which we did immediately that day…” “when that was brought to our attention, we went and looked into exactly what happened and we quickly fixed that issue…” “…If there is an error, we fix it immediately. It’s exactly what we did and will continue to make improvements along the way,” Roth reiterated.

Fogg’s response after the April 7 story mentioned the VEC updated their “system,” after the issue was noticed, but she did not detail what that meant. Roth also did not specify Friday when asked, saying they cannot discuss “claimants and their individual cases.”

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