The best go to the private sector or more exciting areas of the government, like the CIA, Ring said in an interview.
He knows something about the high-tech world. Before turning to politics, he spent six years as an executive at Yahoo!, the Internet search-engine giant.
Asked in an interview Monday morning why the federal government couldn’t implement the Affordable Care Act website correctly and why the state of Florida had big problems with its new system for filing for unemployment benefits, Ring focused mostly on Obamacare.
“These websites are complex. They’re not simple. Last I read you had over 1 million lines of code in the health care website. And you’ve got to get all the agencies to speak to one another and it’s very complex.
“That being said, your top tech people are not necessarily going to go to work for Health and Human Services. Your smartest tech people are going to go to work for the private side or they’re going to go to work for the military or the CIA or the FBI or something like that. So my guess is they didn’t understand just how complex it is. They get it now. All of this is fixable. But they must have just not understood that what they were doing was highly, highly complex.”
He was skeptical about the cost of developing the flawed health care website. “What I don’t know is where they come up with $500 million. That’s kind of, seems awfully expensive to build a website, to me. But it is complex and they clearly, clearly did not have the bright minds that we needed on it.”
Ring, chairman of the Florida Senate’s Government Operations Committee, said the Florida government’s information technology systems are poorly managed and have no coordination. He said that helps explain poor performance on the new and troubled $68 million unemployment website and why state agency websites are duplicative and not as secure as they should be.
The new unemployment site was designed to provide a more modern, user-friendly method of access for people who receive benefits, but some users have had problems since the site went live on Oct. 15, replacing a 30-year-old system that individuals used to claim their weekly benefits, monitor accounts and request information.
Last week, Department of Economic Opportunity Director Jesse Panuccio told members of the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee that it might be mid-January for the system put together by Minneapolis-based Deloitte Consulting to fully outperform the prior system.
“We have no credibility on the I.T. side,” Ring said in an interview with reporters and members of the Sun Sentinel editorial board. “We do not have the competency, the capability, the credibility to be able to pull off something as big as that website.”
News Service of Florida contributed to this report.