Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed recurrent shutdowns of the state’s CONNECT unemployment website, saying Saturday they were necessary to process claims.
DeSantis, after a roundtable in Orlando, noted that the site’s downtime last weekend was used to deal with backlogged requests for relief.
“They took down CONNECT just to process claims,” DeSantis said of the weekend before, with an estimated “450,000 to 500,000” then.
Weekend downtime is used “to really make an impact there,” DeSantis said, while noting that the site is now working well enough to require applicants to recertify their job search every two weeks starting May 9.
The Department of Economic Opportunity noted earlier Saturday that it would be “restricting” access to the chronically-overwhelmed CONNECT website again this weekend “so that the system can dedicate 100% of its processing power to processing applications & making payments.”
This latest restriction of access continues a trend of intermittent shutdowns, which Gov. Ron DeSantis has disparaged at many a media availability.
“You go back four weeks and the system was in tatters, people couldn’t even get on. There’s going to be a whole investigation that’s going to need to be done on how the state of Florida could’ve paid $77 million for this thing however many years ago they did,” DeSantis said Friday in Jacksonville.
DeSantis discussed how engineers were attempting to fix the site, continuing the “all hands on deck” narrative he has put forth since the jobless crunch overwhelmed the website, built during and for an era predating the current crush of unemployment claims.
The sniping has been depersonalized by both DeSantis and Scott on live microphones, but spokespeople for the current Governor and the former one have brought the heat.
“The Governor should ask his Chief of Staff why the Crist Administration picked Deloitte as the vendor. That would be a good place to start,” said Chris Hartline, putting this debate in the category of “dumb political squabbles.”
DeSantis’ spokeswoman, Helen Aguirre Ferre, noted that the website was a “colossal failure,” blaming the Scott administration for executing the ill-fated $77 million contract.