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Monday, September 30, 2013

Oklahoma: Gov. Fallin's picks for workers comp commission lack experience

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Gov. Mary Fallin's first two appointments to the state's new workers compensation system have no experience in workers compensation law.

And that's OK, says Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz.
"As a manager and a business leader, Troy Wilson is acutely aware of how workers compensation affects businesses," said Weintz. "As the former director of the Department of Commerce, Jonna Kirschner knows what an obstacle workers comp costs can be to businesses looking to locate here."

Wilson, named by Fallin to be the first chairman of the new Workers Compensation Commission, and Kirschner, who is expected to be one of the commission's first administrative law judges, get high marks all around for integrity and general ability.

But the enabling legislation creating the new system specifies that commissioners "must have been involved in the workers compensation field for at least three years."
Judges, the law says, "shall have not less than three years of workers compensation experience prior to appointment."

Wilson is a retired banker, businessman and Xerox executive who was retired comfortably in Florida at the time of his appointment.

Kirschner is an attorney who specialized in corporate law before joining the Commerce Department. She is also the daughter of state Supreme Court Justice Yvonne Kauger, which could complicate the court's consideration of a lawsuit challenging the new system's constitutionality.

Weintz said questioning Wilson's...
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