Ron DeSantis joins Nikki Fried in calling for unemployment investigation, but each lays blame differently

Nikki Fried AP day 2019 (Large)
The Governor blames Rick Scott for the failed site.

Nikki Fried, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, fired off a letter Monday demanding an investigation of the state’s failed unemployment insurance system.

The first-term Democrat wrote Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel, requesting that her office look into “potential mismanagement of the CONNECT unemployment system.”

Fried lays the blame at the feet of Florida’s current Governor, Ron DeSantis, who ironically enough called for an investigation during a press conference later that day.

Fried, who has feuded with DeSantis all year, suggested the Governor failed to act, and even now, isn’t doing enough.

“State auditors cited major, systematic problems with CONNECT in 2015, 2016, and 2019 reports. Governor DeSantis was briefed on these problems upon taking office. Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented requests for unemployment assistance, but has also exposed a failure to correct the problems,” Fried wrote.

“Neither DeSantis’ administration nor the Department of Economic Opportunity, which he oversees and which operates the state’s unemployment website, responded to questions about which of the 17 findings in last year’s report had been fixed since DeSantis took office in January 2019,” the letter adds.

DeSantis noted that the problems cited in the report were dwarfed by those discovered since the job market collapsed in March. Monday saw him again describe the lengths his team went to in fixing a site that he has said was “in tatters.”

Fried’s letter to Miguel was sent contemporaneously with a fundraising appeal from her political committee, which suggested Attorney General Ashley Moody “should investigate the negligence with which the Governor’s unemployment system is failing to get assistance to Florida’s working families during this time of need.”

DeSantis had previously teased some type of investigation into the failures of the system, which he and his administration have blamed on former Gov. Rick Scott.

“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’ spokeswoman, Helen Aguirre Ferre, meanwhile noted that the website was a “colossal failure,” blaming the Scott administration for executing the ill-fated $77 million contract.

Spokespeople for Scott shirked blame, pointing instead to Scott’s predecessor, now U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist.

“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,” a statement to WWSB from Scott’s office said.

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]


9 comments

  • Frankie M.

    May 4, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    And the blame game continues…shocking right.

    Is Ronnie counting FL state prisoners or are they considered like the freeloading cruise ship passengers whose sole mission in life is to mess up our numbahs?

  • Sonja Fitch

    May 5, 2020 at 6:20 am

    Nazi Rick Scott did this! Hope Desantis fixes it

    • ANNE

      May 6, 2020 at 3:19 pm

      INVESTIGATE RICK SCOTT!

  • April

    May 5, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Take this time to fix the problem, quit the blame game.

  • Terry

    May 5, 2020 at 10:18 am

    I see dirty Desantis is taking lessons from disgraceful drumpf!! Stop blaming others and fix the dam problem!
    While you’re at it, unglue your lips from trumps asshole!!!

    • James Smitherman

      May 5, 2020 at 12:48 pm

      Desantis is the best governor this state has had since before the idiot Charles Crisp… The idiot Nikki the Fried is as useless as the idiot Charles crispy was and is playing the anti political democratic waste of money and time game. Everyone is complaining over the horrible software problems the state is stuck with. The lessons of the blame game is the policy of the Democratic Party.

      • Brien Homminga

        May 6, 2020 at 12:53 pm

        You are an idiot! This is a GOP dominated state. If anything works or doesn’t work in the government of this state it falls squarely on the Republican party. They are corrupt and racist. Rick Scott is evil and dopesantis is a moron. Now they are pointing fingers at each other. It’s disgraceful.

    • ANNE

      May 6, 2020 at 3:20 pm

      INVESTIGATE RICK SCOTT!

  • Conservative_first

    May 5, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    Of course it came with a fundraising letter. Democrats do what Democrats do…#NeverLetACrisisGoToWaste.

Comments are closed.


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