Law firm critical of state's process for appointing IWCC members
Gov. Bruce Rauner followed the rules when he named Deborah Simpson and Lenore "Elizabeth" Coppoletti to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (IWCC) recently, but a Chicago law firm decries what it sees as a "secret" process that leaves the public out of the picture.
In its blog, Keefe, Campbell, Biery & Associates said that while commissioner positions are advertised and applicants are vetted and selected in full public view in other states, in Illinois the governor selects them with the public rarely being aware that an opening even exists until the process is over.
Simpson, who has worked as an arbitrator on the commission, replaces Mario Basurto as the employer representative on Panel C. As arbitrator, she ensured that workers and employers understood contracts and their provisions. She also served 11 years as the state's assistant attorney general. She earned a law degree from the John Marshall Law School.
Coppoletti received her law degree from Loyola University. She replaces Ruth White as the employer representative on Panel B. Coppoletti previously worked at Nyhan, Bambrick, Kinzie & Lowry as appellate department director. She brings her experience as a workers' compensation defense attorney to the commission.
The law firm did not criticize Rauner's choices -- even going so far as to say about Coppoletti that it was "certain she will be a solid administrator" -- but it did stress what it described as a need for openness.
"In Illinois, even under a reformer and iconoclast like Bruce Rauner, we still have secret, back-door politics to choose the folks that control our multi-billion-dollar workers’ compensation system," its blog said.
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