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Don Gaetz Calls for Confirmation Hearing for Citizens Property President

February 20, 2013 - 6:00pm

Senate President Don Gaetz has generally backed the work of the head of Citizens Property Insurance Corp., hired last June.

But as legislators debate the future of the state-backed agency, and reports of operational bloat come to light, reports that some executives have received pay raises of 12 percent to 24 percent, Gaetz would like Citizens President and CEO Barry Gilway to undergo a formal Senate confirmation.

Citizens has become a very confused organization, Gaetz said during an interview Thursday.

It doesnt have a clear business plan. Is it supposed to get smaller or is it supposed to get bigger? Id like it to get smaller.

With approval of his general counsel, Gaetz is arranging for the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, which is currently reviewing changes to the homeowners' policies at Citizens, to conduct the confirmation hearing.

Gaetz, who called the pay raises a bad idea as the same committee debates ways to shed policies in favor of private firms, said the confirmation hearing would be a good time for senators to question the executive pay.

The Miami Herald reported earlier this week that 14 percent bumps went for CFO Sharon Binnum and Chief Insurance Officer Yong Gilroy, which pushed both to $255,000 a year, while Citizens general counsel, Daniel Sumner, got a 12 percent boost to $215,000 a year.

Otherwise, Gaetz expressed support for Gilways leadership, particularly in the action taken to impose state agency travel guidelines on Citizens employees after a report by Gov. Ricks Scotts inspector general found excessive travel spending inside Citizens.

I think Gilway made a good move when he made it an organizational issue to cut back on excessive expenses of his employees, Gaetz said.

Like any leader, hes probably done some things I wouldnt have done, but in general I think he has the right instincts and right experience.

Reach Jim Turner at or at (772) 215-9889.

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