In Oregon, Marion County Judge Claudia Barton ordered the state’s workers’ compensation department — SAIF — to reinstate John Plotkin. He was terminated in 2014 by the SAIF board after two private meetings where the board plotted to rid itself of Plotkin.
His management style rubbed the board the wrong way and the former director was accused of telling off color jokes and making insensitive remarks.
The judge said in determining how best to oust Plotkin, the board violated the state’s open meeting laws. So, she ordered the state to give Plotkin over two-and-a-half years of back pay, PERS benefits and to pay his legal fees.
The SAIF powers-that-be aren’t sure what they’re going to do. Agency spokesman Mike Watters said SAIF is still digesting Burton’s decision.
“We recognize this ruling puts us in an unusual position, but we have confidence in our board’s ability to make the best decision for SAIF. Regardless, we will continue to focus on workplace health and safety, and our core mission of taking care of injured workers and helping them get back to work. In the past few years, we’ve welcomed new board members and executive leadership, who have reaffirmed SAIF’s historic role as Oregon’s leader in workers’ compensation,” he said.
Shortly after firing Plotkin, the board hired Kerry Barnett. Since he’s the exec now, Plotkin probably won’t be rehired. That said, he’s practicing law in Arizona, and is grateful for the judge’s ruling and is available to work if SAIF wants him back.
“The SAIF board has to make a decision. It obviously would be a little bit awkward for Kerry and I to share that chair. If the board wants me to come back as CEO of SAIF, I remain available,” he said.
Plotkin also said the firing caused him distress and made it hard to find work. And he wasn’t sure in the first place why there was a problem. Adding to the confusion is the woman who allegedly complained about Plotkin. She ended up saying her comments were misconstrued and she was misquoted.
By that time though, Plotkin was long gone and had lawyered-up.
Costs have been estimated and Plotkin’s firing will end up at about $800,000 for his back pay and then there’s the benefits and his attorney fees and the state’s.
Source link: Insurance Journal