A meeting of the Employer's Reinsurance Fund Task Force (formerly the Second Injury Fund) scheduled for July 28 has been canceled because the chairman, Sen. Kay S. Cornaby, has resigned.
The eight-member task force, consisting of representatives of labor, management and the insurance industry, was created earlier this year by the Legislature to look at changes made in a law that would stave off the anticipated insolvency of the fund. The task force also was charged with assessing how the fund is applied to injured workers.In a letter to Gov. Norman H. Bangerter, Cornaby said the July 5 passage of HB3 during the special session removed most of the task force's responsibilities which had been assigned by passage of HB218 in the January regular session. Very little of substance remains for the task force to do, Cornaby said.
State Industrial Commission Chairman Stephen M. Hadley said he didn't know when a new chairman would be appointed. Hadley also said he didn't know when another meeting would be scheduled.
Cornaby said he was approached last January by members of an ad hoc committee consisting of representatives of labor and management to sponsor a bill that supposedly was a compromise by both sides to make certain the Employer's Reinsurance Fund would not become insolvent.
After agreeing to sponsor the bill (SB45), the measure proceeded through the legislative process until the management side of the ad hoc committee suddenly said it didn't agree with provisions in the bill. Cornaby said he wouldn't sponsor the new bill, but Rep. Franklin W. Knowlton, R-Layton, did.
Cornaby said the new bill, HB218, was a compromise. But because the changes in the reinsurance fund were quite complicated and couldn't be fully addressed in the rush of a legislative session, the bill provided for formation of the task force to monitor the changes and suggest other possible changes.
Cornaby said he had been under the impression that SB45, the original bill, had been a compromise. Furthermore, he said management breached an agreement by substituting HB218 for SB45.
After HB218 was passed in January, Gov. Norm Bangerter appointed Cornaby to be the non-voting chairman of the task force. The first meeting was held June 13, and task force members framed four issues they would study, even though there was some disagreement over how far the task force should go in carrying out the mandate of HB218.
Then along came the July 5 special session. Without Cornaby's knowledge, management pushed for another bill, claiming there was a "clerical error" in HB218. The clerical error turned out to be the elimination of a limit on how much an employer was required to spend on training and rehabilitation of an injured worker.
At about midnight during the special session, Cornaby recalls that the Senate adjourned, but the House quickly passed HB3, which put a $3,000 limit on training and rehabilitation of injured workers. The measure went to the Senate and with several senators missing, the measures passed, Cornaby said.
Regarding his resignation, Cornaby said he served as chairman only as an accommodation to labor and management. But when one side chooses to bypass the committee and make an "end run" to the Legislature, "it is not worth my time and trouble to serve."