Edwardsville, IL – Illinois State Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) has been appointed by House Republican Leader Tom Cross to serve on the State Workers’ Compensation Program Advisory Board. The advisory board was created by the Illinois General Assembly as a result of the concerns facing the workers’ compensation system in Illinois.
“I am honored to serve on the workers’ compensation advisory board,” said Kay. “Illinois has a number of problems with its workers’ compensation system. The current system is not perceived as being fair for taxpayers or employers. My service on the advisory board will allow me to use my 38 years of business experience to ensure the system is fair and balanced so we can keep and attract small businesses in Illinois as well as ensure taxpayer dollars are not wasted on frivolous claims.”
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has received constant scrutiny by the public and media. Media reports by the Belleville News Democrat exposed the alleged mismanagement and potential ethical violations by Commission arbitrators and the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Since 2008, almost $10 million has been paid out to 389 Menard Correctional Center employees, including 230 guards for repetitive trauma which can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. The guards said the injuries occurred from locking and unlocking cells. In fact, numerous payments by the Commission were “uncontested settlements” and information regarding the payments or process of awarding payments does not exist. In addition, a state arbitrator deciding the fate of former Illinois State Trooper Matt Mitchell’s claim for workers’ compensation allegedly chose to conceal Mitchell’s hearing from the press and was quoted in an e-mail stating “we are going to do it on the sly with no press.” Trooper Matt Mitchell sought compensation for injuries incurred from a horrific car accident which resulted in the death of two teenage sisters Jessica and Kelli Uhl the day after Thanksgiving in 2007.
“Confidence in the workers’ compensation system must be restored now. The public deserves to know how much of their tax dollars are spent on workers’ compensation claims and where their money went. I look forward to reviewing and assessing how the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission operates and will certainly provide recommendations to improve the system while ensuring fairness for both employers and taxpayers.”