TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The state has stopped collecting fines from the vendor behind the failed launch of a new 63 million dollar unemployment system called Connect, and the man behind the launch is likely going to keep his job.
After thousands of unemployed were wrongly denied unemployment benefits, computer contractor Deloitte is paying 675 thousand dollars in fines. The state assessed a 15 thousand dollars a day penalty for 45 days. The fines ended in February.
Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio made the announcement at his confirmation hearing. "From a technical standpoint, on February 28th, DEO was able to certify that our vendor had fixed all known, high-impact defects."
Call volumes are down and the number waiting to hear if they qualify has dropped dramatically. Senator Eleanor Sobel termed the launch "not successful or a failure"
Senators generally gave the executive director the benefit of the doubt. Sen. Andy Gardiner of Orlando "We took ownership of it and we fixed it, and we addressed it."
Jesse Panuccio, DEO Executive Director, "It was a hard few months, much harder for the people being affected by the delayed claims than it was for any of us. Confirmation will be reported favorably."
But the battle isn't over for the ones who embattled boss. The full Senate has to agree with the Committee, if they take no vote whatsoever, the Governor would have to find a replacement.
Sen Eleanor Sobel of Broward County, “I need to think a little bit more about the role he will play in the future."
Additional staff and outside computer consultants hired at the height of problems remain at work at the department. In Tallahassee,
The DEO job pays $141,000, and the Executive Director oversees 1600 employees and an 800 million dollar plus budget.