Key Lawmaker Wants All State-Chartered Agencies To Abide To Spending Limits
2:49 AM, Jan 31, 2011
Lawmakers are proposing a ban on pricey travel for employees and board members of state-chartered agencies after a CALL7 Investigators' exposé of a $318,000 Pinnacol Assurance golf trip to Pebble Beach resort.House Minority Leader Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, will introduce legislation Tuesday that will prohibit state-chartered agencies, including Pinnacol Assurance, from spending more than twice the federal per diem on any travel paid by the agency.Its a shame we have to run this, but we have to do it because of the habitual abuse of Pinnacol Assurance, Pace said. The foundation of the bill is solely the trip to Pebble Beach.The legislation would prevent questionable spending of the kind CALL7 Investigators found when they reviewed documents of the Pinnacol Pebble Beach trip. That trip included hotel rooms of more than $650, a banquet that cost more than $19,000 and alcohol tabs totaling more than $20,000. After the Pebble Beach trip, Pinnacol had refused to turn over the receipts and only did after 7News won a court battle for the documents."It's incredibly disturbing," Pace said of the trip.CALL7 Investigators have also learned that Pinnacol has canceled its contract with the state, notifying the Department of Personnel Administration earlier this month that it will no longer administer the states workers compensation program. Read the State Termination letter.The state is self-insured but pays Pinnacol more than $1 million a year to administer the claims.Pinnacol Assurance has been examining our Third Party Administration (TPA) services and, after much deliberation, we have decided to discontinue our entire TPA product line, Pinnacol wrote in a letter obtained from the state. Our decision was a difficult one because it requires that Pinnacol Assurance terminate our long-standing and valued relationship with the State of Colorado and our other TPA clients.The state will have to put out a request for proposal to find a new administrator for the contractor earlier than planned.Pace also criticized Pinnacols decision on administrating the state contract.We created this agency to do this, and now they think they are above serving the people of Colorado, he said. They want their cake and eat it too. Its way past time we clean up the abuses of Pinnacol Assurance."Pace also joined calls by other elected officials, including Senate President Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, for the board members who attended the Pebble Beach trip and CEO Ken Ross to resign.Despite a call requesting comment, Pinnacol did not address the legislation but put out a statement on the contract cancellation that echoed the letter sent to the state.