Utah AFL-CIO president Ed Mayne supports Democrat Ted Wilson for governor because Mayne believes he can control Wilson, Gov. Norm Bangerter said Wednesday.
Reacting angrily to an announcement that Mayne and three others were resigning from the governor's workers compensation task force, Bangerter released a statement attacking the resignations as purely political."This is a political year. I understand that," Bangerter said. "We all know who Ed Mayne supports for governor. He wants a governor who he can control.
"That is exactly why Ed Mayne is supporting Ted Wilson, so he can set this state's agenda."
Bangerter ended the statement with a completely capitalized sentence followed by three exclamation marks, "ED MAYNE KNOWS HE CAN'T CONTROL NORM BANGERTER AND HE NEVER WILL!!!"
Mayne and other task force members, including Republican attorney Virginius Dabney, resigned Wednesday, saying they felt betrayed by Bangerter. They were angry at a decision by the Legislature to put a $3,000 limit on benefits to train and rehabilitate injured workers.
Lawmakers made the change suddenly at the end of a special session in July after business leaders, led by large self-insured companies, lobbied the governor, Mayne said.
He said the task force met with Bangerter's aides during the session in an unsuccessful effort to persuade them to support the task force.
The resignations came less than three months after state Sen. Kay S. Cornaby, R-Salt Lake, resigned as chairman of the committee, which was formed in May to negotiate a law that would satisfy labor and management interests.
Cornaby said he served only to accommodate labor and management. When management interests made an "end run" to the Legislature during the special session, Cornaby decided "it is not worth my time and trouble to serve."
Bangerter attached a voting list to his statement, showing that the Legislature's decision was supported by substantial majorities in both parties. He said he will appoint four replacements to the task force.
"The workers compensation task force was to have representation from all segments of the community, including labor," Bangerter said. "It is sad that Ed Mayne, in his zeal to have a governor he can control, is giving up an opportunity to participate in the future of unemployment and workers compensation laws. He has, unfortunately, abandoned his constituents."
Mayne said thousands of injured workers will have little choice but to live on state welfare benefits because of the new law.
Instead of $3,000, injured workers require an average of $10,000 to $15,000 to rehabilitate to the point where they can return to work and be productive, Mayne said.