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Man behind criticized roll-out of unemployment system gets new state job in child welfare

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services offices on State Street in Augusta are shown on Dec. 1, 2017. (Darren Fishell | BDN)

BANGOR, Maine (AP) -- The state employee who led the scrutinized launch of a new unemployment system is Maine's new top child welfare official.

The Bangor Daily News reports that former unemployment compensation bureau director John Feeney started work Monday as chief operating officer of the state Office of Child and Family Services.

Feeney oversaw the roll-out of a new unemployment system last year. The Morning Sentinel newspaper obtained a confidential memo that described a rushed roll-out despite concerns about the system.

The memo claimed the state at one point shut off the voicemail line for unemployed workers to request help and log complaints.

Maine's labor department has denied such claims. Lawmakers ordered a non-partisan probe into the unemployment system's launch.

Feeney's 20-year career in the U.S. Navy included time as a commanding officer.

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