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Former Florida governor Rick Scott silent on unemployment website failures

Website was a disaster when it launched in 2013.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s unemployment system was back online Monday after three days offline to process claims and to be upgraded.

Florida’s unemployment website technology is now being called “a jalopy” or “clunker” by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The system was never designed to manage the crush of applications it is seeing in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, but from the day the system was turned on, it has had major problems.

It was a disaster when it launched in late 2013.

“We’re catching half of the calls more or less in week three. Is that correct?” Senator Ed Hooper asked Jennifer Bloom with Deloitte, the company that built the site back in 2013.

“That’s what’s depicted on the slide, yes sir,” Blume replied.

Back then, Deloitte told lawmakers the Rick Scott administration added 1,500 special requirements.

The company is now being sued by three unemployed Floridians who have waited weeks for a check.

“This system was designed to fail and we have a number of people over the course of this litigation that will come forward and testify to that under oath,” said Attorney Gautier Kitchen.

Gov. DeSantis, who inherited the system, agrees.

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

The system has routinely failed state audits going back to 2015.

The question we want to ask is why anybody would build a system to fail.

We called now U.S. Senator Rick Scott’s office, but received no response.

Scott made headlines last week by criticizing a bill he voted for.

The lawyers behind the suit think taxpayers got bamboozled.

“They wanted the numbers down. They wanted it for a number of reasons. They wanted to bring corporate insurance down for unemployment claims. And there are people who are going to testify to this,” said Kitchen.

At $275 a week for just 12 weeks, Florida has some of the stingiest benefits in the country.

Limiting benefits to 12 weeks was also adopted under Scott’s leadership.

For the third time in a month, a handful of cars with signs critical of the state’s unemployment system circled the DEO headquarters with horns blowing on Monday.

They circled the block three to four times, making their displeasure known.

At their last protest, several unemployed protestors were asking for retroactive payments dating back to the day they lost their job.

Last week, the state agreed to make payments retroactive to March 9, or the day someone was laid off.