Governor calls for review of firings at Citizens - FOX 13 News

Governor calls for review of firings at Citizens

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Customers of state-run Citizens Insurance are outraged after internal watchdogs found evidence of mismanagement and misconduct.

The findings are the results of an investigation into top company managers after those watchdogs lost their jobs.

Now, Governor Rick Scott has asked his inspector general to look into the recent firings of four employees responsible for keeping an eye on any internal wrongdoing at the state-backed corporation.

The investigation revealed that complaints to the company's external hotline weren't always reported and tracked. And when employees complained, investigators found evidence of improper oversight, outdated/ inconsistent procedures, and employee favoritism.

The watchdogs also found the assistant Human Resources director was disciplined for taking her bra off during a company retreat, and doing a table dance at the Coyote Ugly in Ybor City. She was disciplined but kept her job.

Also, an underwriter accused of improper conduct walked out with a big severance deal of nearly $80,000.

The four investigators, who led the internal investigation were terminated last month, and their office was dissolved.

Citizens says their responsibilities were transferred to other departments.

Meanwhile, Governor Rick Scott's inspector general is conducting another probe involving Citizens' travel expenses.

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Here is a link where you can read the internal investigation into Citizens:

http://tinyurl.com/c8hrbp9

And here is the text of Governor Scott's requesting a review into the firings:

"Dear Ms. Miguel: On October 18, 2012, I stated in a letter to Barry Gilway, President of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, that I was troubled by his decision to disband Citizens' Office of Corporate Integrity and terminate its four employees. I explained that while I understood his stated desire to reduce redundancy and create efficiencies within Citizens, such efficiencies could not be achieved at the expense of accountability, transparency, and compliance. I urged Mr. Gilway to use greater caution with any future decisions affecting internal controls.

On Friday, a report released by Citizens' Audit Committee revealed that shortly before their terminations, employees within the Office of Corporate Integrity were investigating allegations that Citizens had mismanaged internal investigations, applied disciplinary procedures inconsistently, and mishandled corporate funds. In light of this report, the timing of the firings raises new concerns. Given the appearance of impropriety, I request that you conduct a thorough review of the terminations to determine whether any of them were retaliatory in nature.

The people of Florida are entitled to accountability and transparency within every aspect of our government. Accountability and transparency require an adequate number of independent, highly trained professionals. My administration will not tolerate any action taken to undermine these safeguards. Your report will allow me to assess whether the taxpayer resources that support Citizens are properly protected and whether corrective action is needed to enhance compliance at Citizens.

Sincerely, Rick Scott Governor cc: Barry Gilway, President, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation Carlos Lacasa, Chairman, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation."

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