The Jacksonville Times-Union's Matt Dixon does a fine job this week going through the assorted problems of Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity.

Read the full story here.

Two things jumped out at me: Dixon calculates that the agency's Initial Skills Review -- a test required before someone can receive jobless benefits -- has delayed payment to at least 120,000 people over the past two years.

And, the contract overseeing those skills reviews -- worth about $5 million -- was awarded without competitive bid to a company that's a big Republican donor.

The story nicely pulls together the threads dogging this agency since it was created by the Legislature -- at the request of Gov. Rick Scott -- in 2011.

The agency has come to be seen by many Floridians as a barrier to collecting jobless benefits they earned by building up a work history.

On that front, it's been quite successful.

In December 2012, I wrote that benefit denials had soared under the reforms of 2011 -- by 140 percent -- even as the number of claims fell.

In the 15-month period after the new regulations kicked in, the state rejected almost 280,000 claims, more than twice the number it denied in the 15 months before the 2011 law. Total denials in those first 15 months topped all the denials issued in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Many of those rejections were tied to the Initial Skills Review -- which I wrote about a couple months ago. Now, even legislators who supported the 2011 reforms were questioning the use of the test, saying it appeared to serve mostly as a hurdle, not a tool.

"Are we spending millions to help people," asked state Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, "or are we spending millions just to annoy unemployed people?"

Though it's existed in its current form only since 2011, DEO is on its fifth executive director. Jesse Panuccio was given the job a year ago after serving on the governor's legal staff. Panuccio had no experience in the workforce industry before taking over the top job at DEO.

Given the troubled roll out of the state's new claims system -- called CONNECT -- I asked Scott's office in January if the governor still thought Panuccio was the right guy for the job. Here's the response I got:

"Governor Scott has full confidence in Director Panuccio’s work to hold Deloitte accountable for the failed roll out of CONNECT, and his commitment to providing every claimant their payments as quickly as possible."