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Florida unemployment: Gov. sidelines head of DEO amid application fiasco

Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis has pushed aside the man running Florida’s unemployment office and put the man who orchestrated dozens of new servers for the office in charge.

Floridians have filed roughly 650,000 unemployment claims. But getting hard information from the Department of Economic Opportunity has been difficult, even for the governor.

“And I want to know – like every morning – I should know how many claims have been paid. Right now, it’s hard for me to even get those numbers, and that’s unacceptable,” Gov. DeSantis said.

Because of that, the governor has now tapped Jonathan Satter to oversee unemployment operations.

“It is a gigantic challenge, but it is not overwhelming. And purposefully, we have designed this to be in bite-size pieces,” said Satter.

Satter remains the head of the state’s technology and management agency. In that role, he was the architect of adding dozens of new cloud servers, which has helped speed up the filing of claims.

“We basically have assembled a SWAT team with one objective and that is – how do we pay Floridians quicker. And so we are looking at everything,” said Satter.

The governor wants answers quickly.

“I’d like to be able to come out and say X number of claims went out yesterday, X number of checks are going to go out by 5 o’clock or whatever,” said DeSantis.

Satter has decades of experience in real estate management. He also chaired a hospital board with a $250 million budget.

He’s been in government just over a year.

“We’re hopeful. We think we’ve identified some problems. And we’ve identified some solutions. It will take us a little bit of time to get those implemented,” he said.

Satter believes unemployed Floridians will see big improvements by the middle of the week.

DEO Director Ken Lawson remains at the agency handling economic development initiatives, but the responsibility for improving unemployment is all Satter.

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