Florida Democrats lashed out Thursday at Rick Scott over continuing problems with the state’s website for unemployment benefits, saying the governor has ducked responsibility for getting needed dollars to out-of-work Floridians.
The U.S. Labor Department interceded last weekend, ordering the state to pay benefits to anyone whose case has been under review for more than a week. But Democrats said it was a shame that it took federal action to ease problems that have occurred since the CONNECT website was launched in mid-October.
“Gov. Scott is tone deaf to the needs of Floridians,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant in a conference call with reporters.
House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale said, “If these were people writing $3,000 campaign checks, I’m sure their needs would not go unmet.”
The Scott administration has blamed web designer, Deloitte Consulting LLP for most of the problems with the $63 million system. Deloitte has crafted similar systems in Massachusetts and California that were plagued by similar foul-ups and delays.
Another vendor, Capgemini, has been brought in to help resolve Florida’s problems. Last week, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity executive director Jesse Panuccio told a Senate panel that as many as 60,000 Floridians may be in the “adjudication” status now subject to the longest delays but who could now get relief following the federal action.
“We are encouraged by this progress,’ Panuccio said late Wednesday of the go-ahead for payments. “However, DEO remains committed to holding Deloitte accountable and needs the vendor to deliver the technical fixes.”