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Florida Current: Jobs agency director was on unemployment benefits before getting gov't gig

Florida has been one of the stingiest states in the nation when it comes to providing unemployment benefits for the unemployed. The Florida Legislature has cut back on the number of weeks of jobless aid, and made it more difficult for people to gain benefits. The U.S. Department of Labor is investigating the changes made by Gov. Rick Scott, which have led to a nation-worst 16-percent "recipiency rate" for jobless benefits.

The Florida Current reports this morning that the new head of the agency that handles jobless benefits, The Department of Economic Opportunity, had a much easier time getting benefits while he was unemployed from 2009 to 2011.

Hunting Deutsch, CEO of DEO, told the Current that he received benefits for part of the time after he lost his job as a banking executive. He also cashed in on some stocks and travelled to Europe.

Here's the story from The Florida Current:

Hunting Deutsch, a bank executive with 35 years of experience, lost his job during one of the most expensive bank failures of the Great Recession. While out of work he received unemployment compensation benefits from 2009 to 2011.

He now oversees the Department of Economic Opportunity, the state agency responsible for administering what critics call the stingiest jobless benefits system in the country.

Asked if he received jobless benefits during his time out of work, Deutsch told The Florida Current, “For part of it, when I first left Bank United after we got reduced, a substantially reduced settlement. So actually it gave me an extraordinary perspective of what it takes to go through the unemployment or what we now call the reemployment process and the job certification requirements."

DEO spokeswoman Carolyn Gosselin did not respond to follow-up questions Tuesday or Wednesday asking the amount and duration of benefits Deutsch received. Emergency federal measures during the height of the recession meant Deutsch would have been eligible for a maximum 99 weeks of unemployment benefits from 2009 to 2011. Florida’s maximum weekly benefit is $275.

Read the rest here.