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Florida's goofy Republican Governor Rick Scott is leading 41% two 39% in the latest poll, announced today, and his campaign has a substantial cash advantage - however, on the downside for the Governor,  Governor Rick Scott is ... well, how else can we say it? - Rick Scott, a person with a lot of downsides to his personality, policies, and history. Toluse Olorunnipa of Bloomberg describes another in a long series of Scott scandals we've heard about, here in, Florida’s Scott Dogged by Recovery of Unemployment Checks.

Florida was one of many states that borrowed money to pay for the states unemployment benefits in the recession starting in 2008.

Facing a $3.5 billion debt, Scott and Florida’s Legislature overhauled the unemployment system in 2011 and 2012, cutting benefits, ending paper applications and adding eligibility rules. Under the re-branded Reemployment Assistance program, applicants had to apply online, complete a 45-question skills assessment and contact five employers each week.  ... Rejections soared. Florida’s rate of unemployed people who receive jobless benefits is 17 percent, the lowest in the country, federal data show. The average weekly payment is $137, also the country’s lowest.

More than 10 U.S. states have reduced unemployment benefits since 2011, and Republican Governor Rick Scott has made Florida’s program the least generous and one of the most aggressive in clawing back money. The issue has become a stumbling block for Scott, 61, who’s seeking re-election.

Employment discrimination specialists found that forcing people to take the added 45 question skills test online was discriminatory and scared off many would-be applicants who just gave up, as was apparently Florida' intent in added the more complex application process.

In their zeal to "claw-back" money from errant payments, Florida incorrectly referred over 19,000 people to collection agencies, including people who were in bankruptcy or dead. Private debt-collection like NCO Financial Systems Inc., and United Collection charge 15% or more on the outstanding debt they collect and can get aggressive in how they do it. According to a 2012 report Florida is referring 10,000 accounts per month to these agencies.

Diane Parcell, a forrmer employee at the state jobs agency was fired for blowing the whistle on the 19,000 inappropriate referrals and failure to enact any complaints resolution process.  Parcell just won her lawsuit challenging her dismissal, receiving $249,000 in judgement, April and "accused Scott’s administration of trying to conceal what she described as a widespread practice of error-plagued and overzealous debt collection."

 "Florida was obviously breaking the law,” said Parcell, who lost her job overseeing benefits at Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity in 2012 after voicing concern that the debt collection was illegal.

Parcell just won her lawsuit challenging her dismissal, receiving $249,000 in judgement, April and "accused Scott’s administration of trying to conceal what she described as a widespread practice of error-plagued and overzealous debt collection."

“This administration was heartless and deceitful,” she said in a statement last week.

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The Labor Department scolded Florida last year, saying the online-only application and skills test violated civil-rights laws by discriminating against the disabled and non-English speakers.

Critics are now "hounding" Governor Rick Scott over these complaints and his administration faces several lawsuits.  (Woof, woof!) Parcell's allegations promise to become "grist for Crist," (Aaaaaawwwwwooooooo!  - an HD original - come on, you got to rec this post just for this line.)

Originally posted to PostHuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by North & Central Florida Kossacks.

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