May 4, 2020
ICYMI: Demanding investigation, Nikki Fried slams Ron DeSantis for failed unemployment system On Monday, following weeks of problems, unprocessed applications and a lack of transparency from the DeSantis administration, Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried asked the Chief Inspector General to look into the potential mismanagement of the CONNECT unemployment system. Fried cited a 2019 audit of the system received by DeSantis after taking office that showed systemic issues, yet no action by DeSantis to fix it. Commissioner Fried, who oversees the Office of Consumer Services as well as the Department of Agriculture, has said she was shocked by the failure of the CONNECT Unemployment System to perform the basic unemployment compensation services vital to cushioning the economic pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic. She called for the investigation by the Chief Inspector General as part of her consumer protection role. She had earlier offered the services of her employees to help the CONNECT system process the large number of unemployment applications but got no response.
The investigation comes as hundreds of thousands of Floridians have been waiting weeks for payments, and over 40% of applicants were deemed eligible for benefits with little explanation. Florida Politics. 5/4/2020. Demanding investigation, Nikki Fried slams Ron DeSantis for failed unemployment system:
"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 writes."
"Noting that DeSantis said that CONNECT 'was designed…basically to fail,' Fried said the Governor has not 'acted with the urgency or transparency that the situation necessitates.'”
“'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."
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Contact: Joy Howell