North Dakota: Voters approve plan to allow governor to hire workers' comp director
The measure will permit the governor, rather than an appointed board of directors, to hire the director of the workers' comp agency. Supporters of the measure collected more than 15,000 signatures to land the proposal on the November ballot. Under the previous system, an appointed board of directors hired the chief executive officer of the Workforce Safety and Insurance agency, which directs the workers' comp system.
The measure also requires the agency to use independent administrative law judges when determining workers' comp claim disputes. The WSI previously had the authority to reject the decisions of administrative law judges.
It also provides civil service protection to WSI employees, who currently can be dismissed for any reason. Lawmakers tried to pass legislation that would have accomplished the same goal. However, the bill was rejected.
The agency has been under public scrutiny since late last year when it fired its Chief Executive Officer Sandy Blunt. Criminal charges had been filed against Blunt and Romi Leingang, the investigations director. However, the charges were dropped.
November 17, 2008
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