DeSantis unhappy with vendor pick, but says hands are tied

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Posted at 5:49 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 17:49:12-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis isn't happy that a state agency awarded a huge contract to a company that he says bungled the state's unemployment filing system, but he said Tuesday that the situation is out of his hands.

DeSantis has asked the state inspector general to investigate the contract with Deloitte to set up the state's unemployment filing system after massive problems occurred when claims rose due to the coronavirus. Since then, Deloitte won a bid for a contract worth more than $100 million with the Agency for Health Care Administration.

"I have no involvement in that, I can't put my thumb on the scale," DeSantis said Tuesday. "Obviously I don't want Deloitte getting contracts, personally, because we're investigating what's happen with the employment system. "

In May, DeSantis ordered the state inspector general to investigate the contract awarded to DeLoitte in 2011, when now Republican Sen. Rick Scott was governor. The contract was originally worth $40 million, but the cost ballooned to nearly $78 million after 14 contract amendments.

The contract for a Medicaid database was awarded to DeLoitte Aug. 3 over four other vendors, but has since been protested. DeSantis said part of the reason Deloitte won the bid was it dropped its price, and he said the issue with the unemployment system wasn't necessarily a factor in the award.

"They dropped their price so dramatically, that it's not clear to me that at that point they could not be denied it on neutral grounds. Maybe if you inject this issue into it, but I'm just not sure if they're allowed to do that within the law," DeSantis said.