Sen. Yee Announces Plan for Reforms, Accountability at State Boards and Commissions

Follows her investigation into per diem abuse at Industrial Commission

51st Legislative Session 013    Senator Kimberly Yee today announced her intentions to introduce legislation in the upcoming session to address much needed reforms and heightened accountability on Arizona boards and commissions.

The announcement follows the Senator’s discovery of abuse of per diem at the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA). On August 18, Senator Yee met with representatives of the ICA, asking questions in advance of a Sunset Review Hearing. She learned commissioners receive $50 per day in unlimited per diem payments. Senator Yee requested more detail of those payments.

On August 25, Senator Yee chaired that Sunset Review and reported her findings. In FY 2015, one commissioner requested 292 days of per diem at a cost of $14,600. Another requested 253 days of per diem at a cost of $12,650. Following the hearing, Senator Yee received work logs of the two commissioners, and found some of those $50 requests were for responding to a single email or reading a news article.

“Members of Arizona boards and commissions should be honored to serve the public and should be accountable to the people of this State. Serving on these important boards and commissions is a public service and should not be an opportunity for these members to receive a second salary or supplemental income,” said Senator Yee.

“Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent on these boards and commissions. We cannot continue to foot the bill on a system where there is an abuse of over-the-top payments made to board members and commissioners being paid thousands of dollars for simply reading a news article or responding to a work-related email.”

Senator Yee’s legislation will focus on how boards and commissions are spending administrative funds to reimburse appointees. It will also address much needed reforms to the ICA to get back to its original mission of protecting workers’ occupational health and safety.

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