Lorenzo leaves Scott’s jobs’ agencyby John Kennedy | June 12th, 2012
The former head of Florida’s jobs’ agency has announced her resignation, the latest departure from the new Department of Economic Opportunity created by Gov. Rick Scott.
Cynthia Lorenzo, chief operating officer of DEO, said she was leaving July 6 to spend more time caring for her two young sons. Lorenzo had been head of the former Agency for Workforce Innovation under ex-Gov. Charlie Crist, and continued in that role in the early months of Scott’s administration.
Scott, however, got the Legislature to reconstitute AWI as the new Department of Economic Opportunity, naming Doug Darling as the jobs’ agency’s head. Darling lasted six months — exiting soon after he acknowledged that Florida over the years had paid tens of millions of dollars to lure companies to the state for jobs that were never created.
Lorenzo briefly served as DEO’s interim director after Darling left. Hunting Deutsch, is the current executive director.
Florida’s unemployment rate fell to 8.7 percent in April, it’s lowest level in three years. But the state’s unemployment compensation system — recently renamed ‘reemployment assistance’ — is being investigated by the U.S. Labor Department following a complaint by workers’ organizations that claim the state’s new online system of filing for benefits creates too many hurdles for out-of-work Floridians.
Critics have said frustration with the system may be aiding Scott’s goal of reducing unemployment. Some workers may abandon their job search or just leave the state, falling out of Florida’s labor market.
Unemployment benefits are paid by employers, and the changes approved in 2011 were pushed hard by the state’s largest business associations.
State officials say the changes have saved businesses millions of dollars and have helped spur Florida’s job growth.