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The Boston Globe

Business

Problems hinder site Deloitte made in Fla.

Deloitte Consulting was fined $1.5 million this week by Florida labor officials after numerous problems in a new unemployment benefits system it created for the state, similar to the one Deloitte unveiled this summer in Massachusetts.

Both systems have been riddled with technical glitches that left some unemployed people without benefits and unable to pay bills.

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On Wednesday, Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, told the Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper that the state recovered $1.5 million in “financial restitution” from Deloitte, which created the $63 million site.

“DEO will continue to work nonstop to help claimants and I will not rest until our contractor, Deloitte Consulting, has delivered the system Floridians were promised,” Panuccio told the paper.

Deloitte officials declined to comment to the Globe on the report.

In Massachusetts, Labor Secretary Joanne Goldstein and Deloitte officials have defended the new $46 million benefits system, despite complaints from hundreds of users who did not get their checks as scheduled or were erroneously billed for money they did not owe.

Between July 1 and Sept. 21, the state paid an additional $800,000 in overtime to state workers to handle user issues.

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“The Department of Unemployment Assistance continues to hold Deloitte accountable for its delivery of the UI Online System,” the department said in a written statement, “and we are regularly monitoring the company’s performance to ensure our system continues to function effectively for UI claimants and employers.”

State officials did not respond to questions about whether they had withheld final payments for the system from Deloitte.

Problems with the system prompted the state Senate Post-Audit and Oversight Committee to hold a series of hearings on the system, and more broadly, on how the state buys information technology services.

The committee is expected to meet for a third session in January.

Megan Woolhouse can be reached at mwoolhouse @globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @megwoolhouse.

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