Gov. DeSantis says unemployment system was ‘designed to fail’

Conceptual business photo is showing printed tex unemployment claim
DeSantis slammed the Rick Scott-era website.

Gov. Ron DeSantis had more sharp comments Friday about the state’s dysfunctional unemployment claims system.

He declared that the state’s CONNECT website, a $77 million spend earlier this decade, a “clunker.”

“The system was problematic,” DeSantis said, noting procurement was “five, six years ago,” in the midst of Rick Scott‘s time as Governor.

 “It was designed with all these different things, basically to fail, I think,” DeSantis said to reporters in Tallahassee.

“This thing was a clunker, there’s no doubt about it,” he added.

“What’s been going on since this thing crashed is that people have been in there around the clock,” the Governor said, making technical improvements.

More “changes to the system” are needed, DeSantis noted.

The comments came after revelations that the website would be down until Monday morning, with backlogged applications being processed in the interim.

On the bright side, DeSantis noted that DEO has “made 200,000 payments totaling almost $100 million.”

DeSantis vowed a briefing with the Department of Management Services (DMS) Secretary Jonathan Satter, brought in to turnaround the problem after Ken Lawson, Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), failed to deliver results, to detail the changes made.

Some changes have been made already, such as retroactive eligibility to March 9, as well as the elimination of the need to re-up the claim every two weeks.

But Democrats are incensed at the systemic failures.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried called on Attorney General Ashley Moody to look into matters.

“Unacceptable,” Fried wrote Friday. “I’m concerned that the site is down for 3 days and only 6.5% of claims have been paid. It’s time to investigate.”

Meanwhile, jobless claims continue to pile up.

More than half a million Floridians filed for unemployment last week, bringing total claims to 1.16 million since coronavirus precautions wrecked the economy last month.

While DeSantis can, as he did Friday, suggest that the issues are the creation of the Scott administration, fixing the problem is his team’s charge.

So far, the main takeaway is there are a lot of people waiting for checks and running out of hope.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • BlueHeron

    April 24, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    This system was designed to fail. Rick Scott had neither motivation nor desire to ensure a quality and efficient system was created to assist the hard working people of Florida. An epic fail that DeSantis must fix asap. We’re a tech country, hire some people who can fix this! I’ve got a lot of family suffering as a result of this “clunker”.

    • Tjb

      April 25, 2020 at 4:15 pm

      Sadly, Rick Scott is not taking any responsibility for our failed employment system that he championed. He blamed others for its failure and even today he speaks against the unemployed receiving additional benefits. Does he care about helping the unemployed in Florida?

  • sherri gabel

    April 25, 2020 at 6:42 am

    Why he is allowing additional money to be spent on a system that was designed to fail? There are literally thousands of tech companies out there that have written and implemented programs for other States that are up and working. Why not sue the existing company for the 77 million spent and use that money to buy a existing program that has proven to work?

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    April 25, 2020 at 8:36 am

    I am so sick of Nikki Fried injecting herself and partisan criticism into every issue. Her ego matches her mouth.

    • slick fidy

      April 25, 2020 at 10:50 am

      I don’t like her either …. but she is telling the truth when injecting herself!

    • drock

      April 25, 2020 at 1:06 pm

      2 weeks ago the Gov said “unemployment is up to speed” and federal government has started mailing paper unemployment checks.

      But you think Nikki fried is a political hack.

    • Tjb

      April 25, 2020 at 4:27 pm

      Spoken like someone doesn’t want to know the facts. It is necessary to request a review of the failure so we understand how to prevent future failure.

  • ISS

    April 26, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    Yes, both Rick Scott an Ron Desantis are failing Floridians. I sent an email to Steve Mnuchin asking for this to be investigated. I ask others to do the same. Ty

  • Catherine Lecas

    April 27, 2020 at 7:28 am


Comments are closed.


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