John Feeney Appointed Director of the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation at Maine Department of Labor
August 4, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 4, 2016 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
AUGUSTA—Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette is pleased to announce the appointment of John Feeney of Winthrop as the director of the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation (BUC) at the Maine Department of Labor. He is replacing Laura Boyett who retired from the department in May.
Feeney has more than 20 years management experience leading large, complex government programs and organizations through statutory and regulatory policy changes, the pressures of reduced operating budgets and the challenges of organizational change.
Feeney will lead the bureau responsible for managing the state’s unemployment program, which is a federal-state partnership. The Bureau includes the Benefits Services Division, which manages the provision of unemployment benefits to individuals who have lost their job through no fault of their own; the Employer Services Division, which manages the collection of unemployment taxes and oversees employer compliance; and the Division of Appeal Hearings, which ensures that people filing for claims and employers have due process rights when either party disagrees with a decision about benefits. The BUC also manages the Unemployment Trust Fund.
The bureau is in the midst of a technology upgrade as part of a consortium with Mississippi and Rhode Island that will be rolled out in two phases during 2017 and 2018. This project will modernize Maine’s unemployment system for both benefits and taxation.
Feeney graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from New Hampshire College and a Master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. He also holds a Level III Certification in Program Management from the Defense Acquisition University.
He is a 20-year Navy veteran and spent part of his career at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. In his last position, Feeney served as the military director of the Navy Airworthiness and CYBERSAFE Office at the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Md. While assigned as program manager for aviation training systems, he led a team that developed a $548 million aviation simulator upgrade program. The Navy recognized his achievements in significantly improving the morale, outlook and efficiency of a diverse 750-person training-systems team with the T. Michael Fish Quality of Worklife award. He has also earned awards for operational readiness, aircraft material condition and maintenance safety, and workforce retention and re-enlistment.
“We look forward to John joining the department,” said Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette. “His background in managing complex organization change involving technology-based projects will be an important asset in modernizing our unemployment system. John brings strong leadership skills as well as significant experience in cyber security, workforce development and process improvement. We look forward to his insights and assistance as we continue to make the systems of the Department more effective and efficient while delivering high levels of customer service to both job seekers and employers.”
Feeney expressed his enthusiasm to join the leadership team at the Department of Labor. “My experience has prepared me to manage large complex government organizations. I've led several organizations through process improvements efforts to eliminate bureaucratic inefficiencies and to generate timely relevant support to the people who need it. I've experienced-first-hand the challenges of organizational culture change and understand the energy and vision needed to lead an organization through the maturation process,” stated Feeney. “The Bureau of Unemployment Compensation provides a critically important service to Mainers when they are most vulnerable, I believe that I can bring my talent and expertise to do for Maine what it's done for the Navy the past 20 years.”
Feeney will start his new position on Aug. 15. The Department of Labor administers Maine’s unemployment insurance system, helps ensure the safety of employees and provides workforce development leadership and vocational rehabilitation services throughout the state. The department focuses on connecting Mainers to jobs and helping businesses create jobs through strengthening our workforce development system, improving outreach to businesses and clarifying employment regulations.