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Awarding Deloitte a New State Contract Just Goes to Show That Florida’s Leadership Is Dumb

Remember those Bud Light Real American Heroes/Real Men of Genius TV and radio ads that were popular 20 years ago? You know, the ones that featured Survivor lead singer Dave Bickler and saluted such folks as “Mr. Giant Foam Finger Maker,” “Mr. Footlong Hot Dog Inventor,” and “Mr. Male Football Cheerleader”?

My favorite one was “Mr. Really Bad Toupee Wearer.”

In the commercial, the voice-over guy says:

More than any neon sign or exploding scoreboard ever could, your chrome dome cover says, “Hey guys, look at me.”

Which is followed by Bickler singing:

What could you be thinking?

When I saw this morning that the state of Florida awarded Deloitte Consulting a $135 million contract to modernize the state’s Medicaid system, the first thing that popped in my head was Bickler’s voice from that commercial: “What could you be thinking?”

The Miami Herald reported:

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is preparing to award a nine-figure state contract to the company responsible for Florida’s disastrous unemployment system.

Deloitte Consulting beat out four other companies for a contract to centralize and manage Florida’s Medicaid data, the state Agency for Health Care Administration announced Monday. The agency is expected to enter negotiations with Deloitte in the coming weeks.

The announcement came after the company has weathered months of scorn for its 2013 overhaul of Florida’s unemployment system. Deloitte was paid more than $40 million to create CONNECT to handle unemployment claims. Amid a crush of coronavirus-related unemployment claims in March, it failed immediately and repeatedly.

Among the other consulting firms that Deloitte beat out for the contract were Accenture and IBM, according to the Miami Herald.

I just don’t get this love/hate relationship Florida’s government has with Deloitte. Trashing ’em one minute, giving them millions the next. What a bunch of dummies.

Isn’t DeSantis the same person who called the state’s unemployment claims system that Deloitte built in 2015 a “jalopy,” “clunker,” and a whole bunch of other names in late April when the platform was crashing under the weight of thousands of unemployment claims from Floridians?

And at the time I agreed with him. After Deloitte said it has had “no connection” to the Florida unemployment system in more than five years, I wrote this in June, and I still stand by it:

Deloitte finished building the CONNECT system in 2015, and according to spokesman Jonathan Gandal, it was “vastly outperforming the systems it replaced and processing claims more efficiently and accurately than ever before.” In 2015, Florida’s unemployment rate was 5.5%. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, Florida’s unemployment rate skyrocketed from 4.3% in March 2020 to 12.9% in April 2020. So all of a sudden, Deloitte went from bragging about how great the unemployment system was to “you can’t blame us, we’ve had nothing to do with it for five years.”

Oh Deloitte, just admit you built a system that couldn’t handle a large spike in unemployment claims.

So why in the hell did Deloitte get awarded this Medicaid system contract? Is Florida a glutton for punishment? Did state officials not ask Rhode Island’s governor what she thinks of Deloitte’s handiwork on that state’s Unified Health Infrastructure Project system, which was supposed to streamline benefits, such as Medicaid, food stamps, and child-care assistance, for hundreds of thousands of Rhode Islanders? That thing has been a disaster from day one.

Oh, and TIL this from the ABC affiliate in Tampa Bay:

History seems to be repeating itself. ABC Action News investigated Deloitte in May and found that in 2013 — just as Deloitte was being awarded a $77 million contract for developing CONNECT — it was also being sued by the state for malpractice and failing to perform its auditing obligations of insurance companies after a string of hurricanes.

So Deloitte was being sued by the state of Florida at the same time it started work on the state of Florida’s unemployment benefits system? No wonder Deloitte built them a piece of crap!

I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this whole Florida/Deloitte thing is ridiculous. So too does Florida Sen. Janet Cruz:

“Why in the world would we give [Deloitte] additional tax dollars after they made a disaster out of what the governor calls a jalopy of a system,” said Cruz. …

“They shouldn’t be awarded another dollar until they fix the mess that they have made,” Sen. Cruz said.

It’s why Sen. Cruz is demanding the Agency for Health Care (ACA) administration put a freeze on the contract.

Gov. DeSantis, I’ll ask you this again, in my best Dave Bickler singing voice: What could you be thinking?

Company that bungled Florida unemployment system gets new $135 million state contract [Miami Herald]
Company behind unemployment system wins contract with state to modernize Medicaid system [WFTS-TV Tampa Bay]

Related articles:

Florida Governor Is Not Impressed with Deloitte’s Handiwork
Big 4 Lawsuits: Illinois Resident vs. Deloitte, Gridsum Investors vs. PwC, Ryan LLC vs. EY
Rhode Island Believes In Second Chances, Even for Deloitte