Ron DeSantis, ‘disappointed’ in unemployment process, side-lines DEO head Ken Lawson
Ron DeSantis

ronDeSantis bars
DeSantis is putting Department of Management Services head Jon Satter in charge.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday he was “disappointed” in the state unemployment claims website.

“We’ve got to do all we can do, better,” DeSantis said, announcing Department of Economic Opportunity director Ken Lawson would be side-lined.

Department of Management Services head Jon Satter will take over response to unemployment, a move that DeSantis conceded would disempower Lawson.

“If there’s business opportunities with the recruiting [or] hurricane relief … Ken can handle that, but in terms of unemployment John is in charge there, and we want action,” DeSantis said.

The Governor has been frustrated by a weeks-long inability to get data on claims and their fulfillment status.

“I ask for the numbers every morning. That’s one of the reasons we want John in there … that’s just a change that needs to be done,” DeSantis said. “I don’t think the response has been sufficient in that regard.”

“We’ve got to get that going … moving quicker,” DeSantis said, but with “updates.”

“This is right up [Satter’s] wheelhouse. He helped us with the call centers,” DeSantis said, calling Satter, “a logical person, given he’s been so involved with the technical stuff so far.”

Satter previously served as managing director of U.S. operations for Avision Young, the world’s largest private commercial real estate services firm, from 2013 to 2018. He was also a two-time appointee of former Gov. Jeb Bush, who named Satter as commissioner of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. He also served as chairman of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County.

DeSantis touted progress on the unemployment benefits front, including adding 100 new servers with 1,000 workers of the expected 2,000 already taking calls.

There have been “tens of thousands” of paper applications, and 500,000 submitted claims, DeSantis said.

“What people want more than anything is to see money turned around,” DeSantis said, noting that the normal three week wait is itself “too long” and he is “seeking ways to process as expeditiously as possible.”

“I want to know every morning how many claims have been paid,” the Governor said.

Earlier this month, Tampa Sen. Janet Cruz sought the DEO head’s immediate ouster.

“I cannot in good conscience stand by the response provided by the Department to this economic crisis. It is with great disappointment and frustration that I request you ask Executive Director Ken Lawson to resign,” Cruz wrote.

Ultimately, Lawson was retained without having power stripped despite the partisan push, but the unemployment system’s failures have begun to define the DeSantis administration in the eyes of many, especially frustrated applicants.

The Governor also said Wednesday that federal benefits, a $600-a-week allotment, would stat to be delivered this week via a “hard check.”

The “state portion,” said DeSantis, was “obviously smaller,” capped at $275 weekly. That money could come via a check or a debit card, DeSantis said.

The benefits have become more urgent, as more than 169,000 apply for assistance.

About 2,000 state workers who had previously specialized in areas of government far removed from the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity will be tasked with data entry for applications coming in from across the state.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


41 comments

  • Noah shoemaker

    April 15, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    So he took away the hardest part of his job for failing it. I sure hope he took some pay with it.

    • Queen

      April 16, 2020 at 10:57 pm

      The old system has been down for a few weeks now so please tell me how is anybody claiming weeks. Thank you

    • Davis M Davis

      April 25, 2020 at 12:13 am

      Your experience is proof positive that the system is doing exactly what Sen aRucj Scitt designed and commissioned it to do at a pricey of. Of $$78M. You see, the smaller our unemployment nis are, the better it makes our stingy Repub l’ship looks on paoer. This is not new. Ever since Rucj Scott became FL giv in 2010, he’s been busy riggibgit for failure. He is not the. “Peoples’ Princess”, he is the rich man’s who’re. DeSantis knows this. But all of them being trombonist sycophants, invested lock, stock b and barrel as such, they’re have to get their trump re-elected and they are failing openly and miss

  • Pedro

    April 15, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Yes governor it is disappointing, I should have submitted my claim already for the past two weeks but I still cannot get past the part I am listing my job searches. I have a house payment and two teenagers to feed. I sure wish your guys were doing a better job and you had a top notch unemployment system with full time programmers on board to keep it working, but you don’t and you aren’t.

    • Dade

      April 16, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      I am in the same boat.. have been trying to list employers for the past two days and get booted out the system every time. Sad part the system goes down for “maintenance” every night from 8pm-7am sometimes 8am and this morning 9:30am and it still fails.

      • Gabriela Alvarez

        April 16, 2020 at 7:57 pm

        Yes i have been unemploted more than three weeks and am still waiting for my qualification and nothing yet thus is ridiculous am running out of options and still nothing please fix this

    • Queen

      April 16, 2020 at 10:54 pm

      Im sorry to hear that but it took me a whole month since march 9 to submit a claim for it to only not ask me any questions about income after i was kicked out about 5 or 6 times. Finally i submitted a claim april 8 on they new system i think its beat to do it on a computer not a phone. Jus dont give up.

    • Tim

      April 17, 2020 at 11:48 am

      They all need to be replaced. From the top down. His could you not be ready for ygis. Knowingly this was going to happen. What a shammmmmmmmmm

  • Frankie M.

    April 15, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    DeSantis was gonna fire Lawson but that would just be one more claim they can’t process.

    • Edel

      April 16, 2020 at 3:52 pm

      I totally agree with Governor De Santis because that system seems to make fun of the applicants, I have tried to enter to make the request for benefits and once you enter you go 1 step and the system returns you to the beginning. According to them, they are maintaining the system every day from 8 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next day but when you come to enter it is the same. It is frustrating and lousy.

    • Jina Reyngoudt

      April 17, 2020 at 4:08 am

      Was given claim#& reported first 2 weeks, with date on 23rd to claim next….no $$ even sent& yesterday my claim said not eligle& to file new application!IM NOT STARTING OVER…I TOOK PHOTO OF PROOF…WE NEED OUR $$$ THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE

  • Fredeswinda

    April 16, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Governor Ron DeSantis

    Governor, I hope you read this. Please fix the DEO, have people sign-in to do their bi-weekly submissions, assigning them the by county & day. 7 days & 67 counties; 9.5 counties per day. Less traffic on the website.

  • Madea of Florida

    April 16, 2020 at 11:40 am

    I wish you fools fix this crap! Like seriously it’s taking me flipping three weeks just to file a damn claim then u respond back with u forgot to claim weeks 😒 no duh Sherlock if u had a better unemployment system and if your damn numbers worked we wouldn’t have an issue! Like hello what happened to having other departments help out unemployment… let me guess that was a lie? Even the 800 number hangs up on you! How are we suppose to email you our damn concerns if we can’t get past logging in to be able to do it! And now u have shorten the times we can log on to file 🙄 get your acts together

    • Dade

      April 16, 2020 at 2:22 pm

      And they are still holding the waiting week which was suppose to be given to us…

    • James Palminteri

      April 16, 2020 at 3:20 pm

      Right-on! You stated everything great! DeSantis and the DEO system is bullshit!! They will never fix it. They just hope we all go away. We will until November. We will then display our anger at the ballot box. Vote for Trump and leave all other boxes unchecked!

      • ZsaKristen Ciuffreda

        April 16, 2020 at 9:05 pm

        will vote for Trump again,but every other box will be left empty,Ron DeSantis,you sure a big disappointment.

  • Fruitfly

    April 16, 2020 at 11:48 am

    All I see when I look at this article is the size of the sign language guy’s head.

    • trakMack

      April 16, 2020 at 3:03 pm

      Lol!!! I love that people are still keeping their sense of humor in check

  • Tracy Brown

    April 16, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Hi. I have been out of work for a month now & after many attempts finally got through & filed my claim but no response. Can’t even get through to phone lines or web site. Please HELP

    • ALTON C Hammonds

      April 16, 2020 at 1:04 pm

      I’VE BEEN OUT OF WORK FOR A MONTH DIDN’T PAY RENT LAST MONTH.NEED UNEMPLOYMENT TO PAY RENT THIS MONTH AND I HAVE A FAMILY TO FEED!!!!COME ON NOW SOMETHINGS GOT TO B DONE!!!!!!!9

  • Eileen Margaret Tierney

    April 16, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    This is so wrong! Been in the system since February 15th but something wrong, can’t claim weeks, but most of all can’t talk,get through to an actual person. Where are all the new 1,000 people Governor Desantis you supposedly hired to answer calls??? No job, no rent, no food,

  • Paula Bianco

    April 16, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    Okay how is it that you have amazon that process millions of orders and they get delivered. What kind of system do they have? Maybe Bill Gates can help you with the computer problems. Finally I was able to reset my pin after weeks of issues. Then finally was able to submit my claim now you have to claim weeks, good luck with that because you can’t get through to claim the weeks then what you disqualified?

  • James Palminteri

    April 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    I will it when I see it. DeSantis is just moving people around to give the illusion he is ” doing something.” Truth be told you can’t fix a system designed to fail. This is He and Scott’s scam catching up with them.

  • trakMack

    April 16, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Why aren’t their more people calling out DeSantis? Everyday I see him making comments about how disappointed he is with the process but we’re going on a month of no action. The sight is now down every night for maintenance from 8pm to 9am. If the right developer team was in place, meaning if the state paid decent money for a top Notch team the maintenance for this site could be fixed in one night or 2 at most. Any developer knows that nightly maintenance is not needed. When the site is up its error message after another or the site sends you in circles.
    DeSantis is making excuses, distracting & deflecting & showing zero action while he’s traveling all around the state making appearances wasting money. Stay at home & promise the citizens of this state you will forego your salary until this is fixed. Useless governor!

  • jack jacobson

    April 16, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Please please I wish you would fix this I’ve been booted out I’ve been doing it every single day every couple hours getting tired Fix-It governor

  • jack jacobson

    April 16, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    please I wish you would fix this I’ve been booted out I’ve been doing it every single day every couple hours getting tired Fix-It governor

    • jack jacobson

      April 16, 2020 at 4:51 pm

      Cannot claim weeks Governor help

      • Gabriel O Vasallo

        April 17, 2020 at 12:24 am

        i spent days and nights trying to finish and even more days claiming the weeks, still no money, i’m still voting for Trump but state officials watch out the public will not forget this. The governor inhereted this mess but he and fellow republicans better fix this system or pay the price at the ballot box

  • Jamie

    April 16, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    Governor… system still does not work on this day, Thursday April 16th… going on 4weeks now and still no submission and what info was given, I’m afraid it incorrectly saved and I will be denied… such an embarrassment, leadership failure and worse of all I fear… many will be denied benefits because the system was designed to do just that… fail the people.. Do your job Governor and correct this injustice, throwing more mud & paint at it only covers up, strip it clean now…
    We the people & our families are depending on you to do what’s right!

  • Gabriela Alvarez

    April 16, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Yes i have been unemploted more than three weeks and am still waiting for my qualification and nothing yet thus is ridiculous am running out of options and still nothing please fix this

  • Chuck Rose

    April 16, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    Terrible governor has a system that is flawed and don’t get too schitts In The Wind about it
    Just another way our government failed us
    WAKE UP PEOPLE OF AMERICA. VOTE THESE LOSERS OUT of office…..
    Trump 2020

  • Little Rob

    April 16, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    Thanks for nothing. You guys in office do more talking than helping your Floridians. Stop the chatter and just help us all that got impacted by this covid19 crap. Damn near everyone is facing eviction and oh yeah having their power shutoff as well. I got my disconnect notice and have to pay it by the 23rd of this month. No unemployment nor stimulus check. So basically I’m screwed. Thanks for nothing

  • Frank Barco

    April 16, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    Was approved for unemployment benefits in the system on 3/15, however have not been able to claim benefit weeks because you cannot access connect’s website, e-mail, or by phone.

    Since the Governor has waived the bi weekly search, why can’t they release checks to the people that are approved? It would alleviate the demand on connect as people are trying to file an initial claim and well as requesting benefit weeks.

    I have sent an e-mail to the Governors office as well as my State Senators in my district.

    You should also do the same.

    [email protected]

  • Mary O

    April 16, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    I’m beyond frustrated. Nobody to even talk to, one day I called 61 times and each time was hung up on. Nobody ever answers. But recently they have answered,but say they’ve only been trained to assist to change pin numbers. Really? Been OVER 3 weeks since filing a claim. Someone, please fix this!!

  • Michelle D Weess

    April 16, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    I applied on the 25th of March and when and if I can get online it tells me that I’m still pending. Why should I still be pending? I’m fixing to lose my car among other necessities. Nobody ever answers the calls and nobody updates anything so when will we know what the hell is going on?

  • James e Walters

    April 16, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    Finally got through finally got through was not able to claim weeks and where’s the $600 governor it is a federally funded event where’s the money governor. I think it’s more than incompetence maybe there needs to be a criminal investigation where’s the money Governor DeSantis

  • Jean marc Alexis

    April 16, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    I received a letter in the mail with all credit card information how to use it, last two weeks until,what’s the delay .
    Jean M Alexis
    April 16th 2020

  • Fredrick Fulton

    April 16, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    I was already receiving unemployment prior an since this epidemic started an since i have had problems last time i did my claim it got processed on time but they took out to much my balance isn’t correct an i have tried calling only to sit on the phone for a hour or two only to be disconnected an never get to speak to anyone so then i tried emailing them that was over two weeks ago an never got a response in that time i have not be able to reach anyone an i have a disability an it is unfair that this is how we are being treated (IGNORED) AN LEFT WITHOUT DIRECT ANSWERS TO EACH PERSONS DIFFERENT NEEDS AN CONCERNS.. I HATE TO SEE IF THIS EPIDEMIC GETS ANY WORSE AN WE ARE STUCK DEPENDING ON A SYSTEM THAT IS CLEARLY LEAVING US IN THE BLIND

  • NANCY A MURPHY

    April 16, 2020 at 11:55 pm

    While they are getting paid we get nothing I have 5 kids and have been waiting for any information to change on my unemployement it says the same thing for weeks now.cant get through the phone lines cause they just disconnected you and you been calling since 729am…its ridiculous so why are we suffering…

  • Donna M Cosgrove

    April 17, 2020 at 12:04 am

    I have been laid off since March19 it took me 4 days , and seven hours to finally finish my application nonstop being persistent , nearly lost my mind doing it it’s been active ever since,haven’t received nothing it’s been a frigin month people in N.Y PA have there’s plus the 600 is this some kind of game I have waterbill electric bill caroaynent food and no money to pay anything I’m sure me and the thousands of other Floridians would love to be working I don’t like being home I live working it’s depressing sitting here day after day I told my husband something’s wrong this is a sick game then tonight Mr Desantis made a speech checks are sent out we don’t have to go in the system, to claim weeks he lifted it knowing we can’t look for a job , well let’s see when we get these checks I will believe it when I see it I do feel let down , angry stressed frustrated pissed, anxiety this isn’t right I get it the system was made to not let u get unenployment to keep looking for another job Thanks Scott real nice but at a time like this it’s a slap in the face

  • Carmen Gonzalez

    April 17, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Very disappointed because trying to apply for unemployment can’t get through always getting a error or no answers on the phone

Comments are closed.


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