As Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to struggle with the state’s balky unemployment website, Democrats continue to pillory him.
The latest provocation came late Tuesday afternoon from caucus leader Audrey Gibson.
The Senator from Jacksonville launched the “Florida Unemployment Benefits Watch” in what a media release called “an effort to boost transparency into an unemployment system fraught with delays and little accountability.”
Currently, nearly 570,000 Floridians are still waiting for payment, with almost two months having passed since the state of emergency was declared.
Questions about failures in the $77 million CONNECT website have dogged DeSantis both at press conferences in the Capitol and media events throughout the state.
“The engineers I talked to said for that type of money, [the site] doesn’t fit the bill,” the Governor noted.
In media appearances throughout the state, the Governor has laid the blame on those who came before him. Particularly scapegoated was Ken Lawson, the appointed head of the Department of Economic Opportunity, whose stewardship of the unemployment system did not prepare it for what has hit since March.
Despite the Governor’s attempts to differentiate his administration’s work in the last two months to fix the site from previous administrations, Democrats in the Senate and beyond continue to push the narrative that the problem is the Governor’s to solve.
Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, a Miami Democrat, accused the Governor of “deflecting, trying to make it sound like he’s not responsible for the awful system we have post-2018 and especially in the last two months.”
Nikki Fried, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, fired off a letter Monday, also to the Inspector General, demanding an investigation of “potential mismanagement” of the unemployment system.