This was a draft from 2015 when Florida’s online unemployment system was revamped and launched to much disaster. It sort of became a rabbit hole and I stopped diving deeper, although there was so much more to add. Because I’m lacking in ideas for posts, I’m going to throw this out, but it’s as complete as I really want to make it. Being two years out of date, you can imagine the shitshow is forever ongoing.
Spurred by significant problems experienced by someone close to me, I did some investigative work just for fun. The subject: Florida’s new online unemployment system called CONNECT.
It started simply enough, I went to the web site and looked at it. It’s written in ASP.NET, The HTML markup is seriously ancient. This really scares me. A brand new system shouldn’t be coded like it’s from 1999. Of course the other warning signs are there: built to work with IE 8/9 (2009-2011), Safari 4/5 (2008/2010) Firefox 16/17 (2012), and worst, resolution: 1024×768.
I started filling out a fake application. It used ASP.NET postbacks heavily, which is bad. After submitting some totally wrong information, I was told that the SSN I entered was already in use and I should log in using it. An invalid SSN… in use?
In the source code, the logo used an ALT tag that said “QUEST”. That’s odd, because the site is called CONNECT. Easy online searches show that Massachusetts’ unemployment system is called QUEST. Really. So Florida bought software that was developed for someone else? Yes, and it’s worse than that.
QUEST was built by Deloitte Consulting for Massachusetts sometime around July, 2013. They paid $46 million for the site. Again, they paid $46,000,000 for this website. But Deloitte was smart. They double-dipped. They got Florida to pay $63 million for theirs. Ahem, $63,000,000. For writing one severely flawed application that has proved to be a failure in both installations, they collected $107,000,000. Sure they got fined for their fuckups to the order of about $6 million, but that’s pennychange. The track record of this company is absolutely amazing.
That’s really what this is about. You would not believe how much this company fucks up and continues to remain in business and get new work contracts for millions of dollars. Boston journalists have done a pretty good job of exposing this company’s garbage, but you can find out their failure is well-documented in searchable online news stories. In spite of that, the company is heavily embedded in the governments, with former employees now running state departments – a conflict of interest that is conveniently ignored.
Pennsylvania: Deloitte launched the worker’s comp system in 2013 and complaints abound. They built the Dept. of Welfare site in 2012 and it’s reported to be full of errors and malfunctions. They created the COMPASS system back in 2002 and there’s no reports of issues with it. Either Deloitte did good work back then, or Internet news reports weren’t as prevalent. The company gets so much money from the Pennsylvania government that PA had to reconsider its bidding system. Despite this, a company contact says that they win bids because they consistently receive good reviews. In 2006-2007, they won nearly half of the contracts they bid on, so clearly they can’t be getting favoritism.
Massachusetts: Deloitte’s failures in this state are incredibly well-documented. They were fired from a project after getting $54 million out of a $114 million contract for a system to process tax returns. They almost got fired for the unemployment system mentioned previously. Yet, they landed a contract for the DMV. Time will tell on this one.
California: Another incredible disaster, where Deloitte got sued over charges of incompetency and corruption. They got fired from a project to track services for the disabled. They implemented the worker’s comp system at twice the original budget. They were fired from the project to link the court systems, after getting hundreds of millions in payment and costing the state billions. Also, they created the unemployment system, also error-prone.
Florida: Deloitte was fired by Miami for incompetence not on IT, but on legal council on employment. The unemployment system needs no additional discussion, other than FL is talking to another contractor to fix the problems.
Virginia: Deloitte has been contracted to improve systems for $100 million. Stay tuned.
Oregon: Deloitte just won an $18M contract to oversee an integration project for state-federal health exchange.
Rhode Island: $105M to create the infrastructure to manage the healthcare insurance integration.
Minnesota: $10M to take over the healthcare exchange built poorly by a different consulting company. They were the original first choice, but lost because of cost projections.
Connecticut: An awesome quote by the CEO of the CT Health Insurance Exchange: “We looked at every operations area that we did and we said where can we outsource. … We have outsourced all of our third-party operations — why should we be doing something that someone else can do better, faster, cheaper?”
They did Kentucky’s system, called KEWES in 2001. It cost them $20 million initially and $6 million/year in operation costs. I’m not sure if that’s all consulting hours.
This company also was chosen for Ohio’s unemployment portal in 2000. It’s written in JSP and has the developer changelog right in the HTML source. Wonderful.