Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OPEA Calls for Ouster of State Insurance Fund Director

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OPEA Calls for Ouster of State Insurance Fund Director

Article excerpt

The Oklahoma Public Employees Association on Monday demanded the resignation of Terry Tyree as director of the State Insurance Fund.

The OPEA said its request was based on a series of allegations of mismanagement.

Gary Jones, OPEA executive director, said the association will request time on the agenda at the next meeting of the fund's board of directors and ask for Tyree's resignation. Jones' comments came after the OPEA received complaints from several employees regarding a report to the Fund's Board of Managers detailing reasons for a 1996 reorganization which resulted in the dismissal of 97 employees. "We feel the employees are being made the scapegoats for managerial problems over there," Jones said. But Tyree countered he has never met with Jones regarding the report. "I regret they didn't come and talk to me about the report," he said. "No one from OPEA has even contacted my office about any concerns during my tenure." Management of the fund is being investigated by a multi-county grand jury. Jones said, according to press reports in several newspapers, Tyree has been involved in possible conflicts of interest concerning the agency's reorganization. The controversy surrounds the $4.5 million revamp that led to the dismissal of 75 percent of the fund's legal staff. The investigation is focusing on allegations that kickbacks were paid as part of the reorganization. Tyree defended management of the fund, saying 1996 was the most profitable year in its more-than-60-year history. He said the reorganization was necessary because more private insurance companies are entering the workers compensation market and the fund was losing market share. Jones said that even if Tyree does not resign, the association will ask that he be fired. He said if no action is taken, OPEA will renew its request at each subsequent board meeting. …

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