The Romney administration paid a Florida firm nearly $14,000 - far more than it admitted paying early last week - for uniform patches for state workers, thousands of which were botched and couldn't be worn.

"That is such a waste of money when there are so many in this state who need money," said state Rep. Brian P. Wallace (D-Boston).

Wallace criticized the Department of Recreation and Conservation for creating a patch for park rangers that didn't feature the state seal and sported a leafy plant many felt resembled marijuana. Three versions of the patch were produced for the uniforms worn by the 140 full-time staff members of DCR, as well as for seasonal employees, said DCR spokesman Joseph O'Keefe.

O'Keefe told the Herald Wednesday DCR spent some $3,300 on patches for rangers, but later admitted the cost for the total production of DCR patches was $13,639. The funds were paid to Tampa, Fla., printing firm Hallmark Emblems Inc., he said.

Wallace said there is no need to hire a firm in Florida for state business. "I'm pretty upset that they wouldn't do business in Massachusetts. If they are going to shop around, they should shop around in Massachusetts," Wallace said.