Wherein Senator Carroll Takes Offense


This comes along with a de-friending with extreme prejudice.  The main effect of which is to keep me from following the thread on her profile, and to check to see if indeed there were any Facebook invitations to the business members of the mutual assurance company to come testify.  However, far from being left out, all three parties are already, by the enabling legislation, represented on the committee:

(III) THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF PINNACOL ASSURANCE, OR HIS OR HER DESIGNEE;

(IV) A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF PINNACOL ASSURANCE DESIGNATED BY SUCH BOARD;

(VI) EACH OF THE FOLLOWING APPOINTED JOINTLY BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, MINORITY LEADER OF THE SENATE, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND MINORITY LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

(A) A POLICYHOLDER INSURED BY PINNACOL ASSURANCE;

(B) AN INJURED WORKER; AND

(C) A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC WHO HAS KNOWLEDGE OF THE COLORADO WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SYSTEM.

Sen. Carroll’s posting said nothing about businesses or Pinnacol, the latter of which hardly needed an invitation to participate in a committee it already sits on.  What’s at issue here is the propriety of the chairman of the committee, on a Facebook page rather than on her private home page, and not on the committee page, issuing an invitation to one – and only one – of the three parties to come air their complaints.  The injured worker and the policyholder would, it would seem, be capable of handling that on their own.

In fact, yesterday’s Denver Post carried an article about the matter, suggesting that Pinnacol already sees the committee moving in one direction:

Ross was concerned about the direction the committee was taking, saying: “The focus or slant of this seems to not be an open study but more of Pinnacol under a microscope.”

Carroll has asked that injured workers whose claims were handled by Pinnacol contact her with their stories. She said she expected injured workers to testify during the hearings.

Asked about the proposal from Ross, Carroll said it was premature to be talking about any such deals.

“There’s a ton of data and a ton of questions all over the place,” Carroll said. “To argue for a conclusion on a committee that hasn’t even started its work yet” isn’t helpful, she said.

(Carroll’s claim that Pinnacol’s trying to put a solution on the table, “isn’t helpful,” is disingenuous to say the least, given her eagerness to solve the problem in her own way this Spring, without such a committee or any investigation.)

Her claims of impartiality are further undermined by the following press release, issued Tuesday:

Senate Chamber
State of Colorado
Denver

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

CONTACT
Abigail Vacanti (303) 866-4882
Jack Wylie (303) 866-

SEEKING INPUT FROM INJURED WORKERS!
Sen. Carroll asks for public testimony for Pinnacol Committee

DENVER-  Are you an injured worker or a family member of an injured worker who’s claim was handled by Pinnacol Assurance?  What was your experience like?  We’d like to hear from you!   If you are interested in telling us your story, please email the Committee Chair, Senator Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), at morgan@senmorgancarroll.com.

The tone, the exclamation points, (the inability to distinguish “who’s” and “whose” are another matter), all point to an interest in attracting those with a negative story to tell.   It’s unlikely that very many people whose story amounts to, “I filed and claim and it was handled expeditiously and fairly,” are going to show up to defend an insurance company, those carpet-bombing villains, they.  I’m sure some will take the time to communicate with the committee.  I think it’s equally clear what Sen. Carroll’s level of interest in those letters will be.

Anyone with even brief experience knows how easily such hearings can be turned into parades of discontent.  No doubt there are some workers who have been treated unfairly by the company.  Likewise, there are either malingerers or those whose injuries were not work related who may use such a forum to play on the public’s natural sympathy.  One questions whether the committee will have the time or interest in re-playing those cases fully enough to screen them out.

In short, nothing that Sen. Carroll has done, from her snide email reply to a resident, to her tempermental behavior on Facebook, does anything to set one’s mind at ease about the intent of these hearings.