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Politics

Jeff Atwater: Put Independent Inspector for Citizens Property under Cabinet

December 18, 2012 - 6:00pm

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater gave his support to Gov. Rick Scotts demand that an independent inspector general is named for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. on internal mismanagement issues.

In a letter to the governor on Wednesday, Atwater proposed the new position be selected by the state Cabinet, which is comprised of Scott, Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Citizens stakeholders have a right to know that the resources of the Corporation are being deployed appropriately, and that the management team conducts itself in a responsible manner, Atwater wrote. This can best be achieved by our direct oversight of an independent Inspector General.

Scott has held off on commenting about problems reported inside the state-backed agency.But has said he will ask legislators to approve the position of inspector general and recommend the agency also create a compliance officer post.

I think they need their own inspector general. We cant have mismanagement, Scott told reporters Dec. 11 at the Capitol.

On top of that, I think they need a third-party enforcement officer to make sure theyre complying with the rules; to make sure that what policies they are issuing are policies issued based on what the existing laws are.

Scott has directed Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel to inspect Citizens after it was reported the companys integrity team was scuttled while investigating internal issues, including allegations of sexual harassment, indecent drunken behavior in public, questionable payments and falsified documents.

Atwaters letter:

Dear Governor Scott:

I am deeply troubled by the ongoing reports of reprehensible behavior and mismanagement at Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, and applaud your demands that Citizens appoints a strong, independent Inspector General.

There is simply no excuse for the lack of organizational discipline displayed by Citizens management, and their inadequate and dilatory response to the widespread allegations of misconduct. Given the segment of the market that Citizens occupies in this states overall insurance scheme, from policy and claims administration to bond financing, it is imperative that the publics confidence be quickly re-established.

As you are aware, Citizens has a reporting responsibility to the Cabinet in its capacity as the Financial Services Commission. Under these circumstances I would like to suggest that the Cabinet approve the selection and appointment of the Inspector General, and have that individual report to the FSC for at least the next twelve months.

Citizens stakeholders have a right to know that the resources of the Corporation are being deployed appropriately, and that the management team conducts itself in a responsible manner. This can best be achieved by our direct oversight of an independent Inspector General.

I look forward to working with you to restore the integrity of Citizens and the confidence of the people of Florida.

Sincerely,

Jeff Atwater

Chief Financial Officer.


Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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