Saturday, February 17, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Florida's trouble-plagued jobless website

Does this sound familiar? A government agency rolls out a highly touted website designed to help more than a million people, only to be overwhelmed by problems that make gaining access to the promised benefits a Sisyphean task. But this isn't about shopping for health insurance on the federal government's balky website. It's about the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's $63 million CONNECT system for the unemployed to apply for benefits. Just as President Barack Obama should be held accountable for issues with the health insurance website, Gov. Rick Scott should be open about the problems with the state's system and how his administration is working to fix them.

Scott sowed the seeds of the problem when the state required jobless Floridians to apply for unemployment benefits online. That would require a state computer system that works efficiently. CONNECT doesn't. And it might even be illegal, as the U.S. Labor Department investigates whether an Internet-only claims process violates federal law. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is urging the Labor Department to also investigate the sputtering CONNECT website. Developed by New York-based Deloitte, CONNECT debuted Oct. 13, 10 months behind schedule. After initially touting the system's success, state officials now acknowledge thousands of claims were delayed or deleted because of technical errors, while other unemployed residents were blocked from entering the website to apply for benefits. The agency's help line became so clogged that only one of every 25 callers was able to speak to someone.

Scott should provide a thorough, candid explanation for why a $63 million website fails to work properly. Until it does, he should open up the unemployment benefits process by allowing residents to apply for benefits in person.

Floridians who are unemployed should not face further hardship and delays in receiving financial help they are entitled to receive just because a state computer system doesn't work.

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Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18
Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Immigrants brought into this country illegally as children by their parents may be wondering whom to trust. The political theater being played out in Washington hasnít settled the status of either the "Dreamers" or the estimated 11 million other undo...
Published: 02/13/18
Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

While it came as little surprise, the Tampa Bay Raysí selection of an Ybor City site near Tampaís Channel District as the best spot for a new stadium is an important milestone in the effort to keep Major League Baseball. Now comes the hard work of de...
Published: 02/09/18
Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

After pummeling public education so soundly last year, itís little surprise Republican state legislators are mounting another attack on public schools, teachers and local districts. The mammoth education bill passed by the House last week is loaded w...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/13/18
Editorial: TIA expansion a reminder to aim high

Editorial: TIA expansion a reminder to aim high

Thereís nothing particularly exciting about a tram, much less a rental car facility. But the new projects at Tampa International Airport set to open Wednesday are a sign of confidence in the bay area ó and a challenge to improve regional transportati...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/09/18