August 4th, 2014 | by WW Staff News | Posted In: Cops and Courts, PDX News, Legislature, Business, Politics, State Government

Ex-SAIF Chief Levels New Allegations About His Firing

plotkinEx-SAIF Chief John Plotkin

The fired CEO of SAIF Corp., the state’s workers compensation insurer, is leveling new charges against the agency and is formally accusing SAIF's former leader for undermining him in his job.

John Plotkin on Monday filed a amended lawsuit against SAIF and added three new defendants: Brenda Rocklin, herself a former agency CEO; and agency executives Chris Davie and Ryan Fleming—all of whom Plotkin says conspired to derail his tenure as the head of SAIF.

Plotkin had sued SAIF July 7 over violations of the state’s public meetings law, involving sessions of the agency’s board where his dismissal was discussed.

The amendment, filed in Marion County Circuit Court, now alleges SAIF wrongly fired Plotkin, that the agency didn’t allow him due process to defend himself, and that Rocklin, Davie and Fleming wrongfully interfered with Plotkin’s job.

As WW previously reported, Plotkin was supposedly fired for making inappropriate remarks. But documents obtained by WW show many witnesses later said Plotkin either never made the remarks or the allegations were inaccurate.

Here's what WW wrote July 2:

Plotkin was dismissed by the board after only three months at his $320,000-a-year job for allegedly making inappropriate comments in front of employees. Plotkin fought to keep his job, and scores of SAIF employees came to his defense. But the board fired him anyway May 9.

Now, records obtained by WW show that SAIF officials failed to adequately vet the allegations against Plotkin. The records make clear that at least four officials, including three of the agency’s top managers, said allegations against Plotkin were untrue.

“I’m now hearing that statements in [the human resources department’s] notes attributed to others are also false or inaccurate,” SAIF general counsel Shannon Rickard wrote in a May 22 email. “The common theme appears to be disbelief and anger that no one from HR bothered to pick up the phone to ask people whether the statements were true before taking them forward.” 

The amended lawsuit filed Monday says Plotkin had hoped to settle the matter quickly with the state, on July 17 offering to come to terms with SAIF and the Oregon Department of Justice. But the amendment complaint says the state did not respond, leading Plotkin to level the new charges in the complaint.

SAIF is a public corporation that provides workers compensation insurance to more than 50,000 Oregon companies and 600,000 workers. 

 
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