Eye On Boise

Exchange board: 'There should have been some alarms going off'

Idaho insurance exchange board Chairman Stephen Weeg and member Jim Rice confer, center; at left foreground is board member Kevin Settles, at right, member Fernando Veloz. (Betsy Russell)
Idaho insurance exchange board Chairman Stephen Weeg and member Jim Rice confer, center; at left foreground is board member Kevin Settles, at right, member Fernando Veloz. (Betsy Russell)

Idaho health insurance exchange board member Kevin Settles lauded former board member Frank Chan for the time, effort and expertise he offered to the board before his resignation last week, as he was awarded a now-canceled, $375,000 no-bid contract. “I thought that he was a tremendous benefit for the board and really appreciate him,” Settles said. He expressed hope in “the possibility of extending a contract with him in a better fashion,” and added, “I just feel bad for Frank, and for all of us. But we shouldn’t dogpile on it.”

Board member Jim Rice, a Caldwell state senator, countered, “Negotiation of the contract prior to the resignation – Idahoans don’t see that as appropriate, we just don’t. … It’s part of being a fiduciary.” He said, “I think that from here, we can’t contract with him. … We have to deal with reality, and reality is that I don’t think we can do further business with Frank, in spite of the fact that he did volunteer a lot of his personal time while he was on the board and went above and beyond. It was something that was very commendable. … I don’t think it is something where we can just say we’re going to ignore that going forward. We can’t. There’s a lot of realities that come with this particular entity that don’t exist with other entities.”

Board member Tom Shores said the process was flawed. “There should have been some alarms going off,” he said. “All those things should have occurred and didn’t occur.”

Board Chairman Stephen Weeg said, “My hindsight says that in some ways our desire for expediency overcame … our desire for good governance. ... So we made a decision, a decision was made regarding hiring one of our board members … and it created a major mess for us, there’s no way to ignore that fact. So we need to look at that as a board.”

“We’re all in this together,” Weeg said. “We could spend time trying to figure out who did what wrong, and I’ll take some of the blame for that. The governor appointed me to chair this board and the governor can decide if I still have his full faith and confidence, and I’ll need to talk to him about that. But I think the goal today is to say we have a huge challenge, we have a significant issue that we need to address and do better together. … We’ve been pressed by time from the get-go. We’ve probably taken some shortcuts that have caused us to stumble.”




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Betsy Z. Russell




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