Behind the Headlines

Utah’s coronavirus response audited and the state’s new jobs program


This week in Utah news:

This week’s other debate between the two candidates vying to become Utah’s next governor focused mostly on education funding and the coronavirus response. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Democratic challenger Chris Peterson both supported increasing public school investments in Utah, but they did not agree on current policies on schooling during the coronavirus pandemic.

A newly released review of the state’s early response to COVID-19found that Utah leaders were unprepared for a global pandemic and that in the scramble to adapt, they spent millions of dollars in no-bid contracts with little documentation of due diligence. Lack of a clear hierarchy and communication missteps also mired the state’s pandemic response, at times, and there was a flurry of spending on testing and technology that happened through verbal negotiations and approvals with no paper trail, the audit found.

And the state of Utah is warning thousands of residents thrown out of work by the pandemic that government assistance will soon run out and they need to get a job. With just under 50,000 Utahns still officially laid off, furloughed or struggling with pay cuts due to the coronavirus and still receiving some kind of aid, state officials are launching a $1 million public campaign to connect them with new work.

At 9 a.m. on Friday, Salt Lake Tribune reporters Bethany Rodgers and Tony Semerad, and editorial page editor George Pyle join KCPW’s Roger McDonough to talk about the week’s top stories. Every Friday at 9 a.m., stream “Behind the Headlines”, or tune in to KCPW 88.3 FM or Utah Public Radio for the broadcast. Join the live conversation by calling (801) 355-TALK.

Behind the Headlines
KCPW and The Salt Lake Tribune present a fresh way for Utahns to process the headlines. Behind the Headlines, a live weekly broadcast, examines the week’s top local stories through the eyes of reporters on the beat. Produced by KCPW Studios
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