|By Winthrop Quigley and Michael Hartranft, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"We don't believe the charges are in any way justified," said attorney
Franchini referred questions to Kennedy, who told the Journal the official reason for the suspension was that Franchini let employees leave work an hour early on
Three other people familiar with the situation told the Journal that Franchini angered some commissioners by discussing the Insurance Division's fiscal 2014 budget with members of Gov.
Leavell said Franchini met with Gov.
State law gives the PRC the power to hire and fire the superintendent but no authority to regulate the insurance industry. Every insurance superintendent until Franchini has either been fired or forced to resign.
Montoya said the superintendent was notified of his suspension late Friday afternoon last week.
"It is a personnel matter, and what I will confirm is that he is on suspension, and as has been the practice of the PRC, we will not comment any further," Montoya said.
Hall said he understood the suspension was for 10 days and that Franchini would not be paid for that time. He said the suspension as a "disciplinary action and we felt like it was necessary."
"That department operates under heavy political influence," Leavell said. "I'm looking forward to having that department moved out from under the PRC."
Kennedy said Franchini let his staff leave early on
As for the meeting with Montoya that Franchini missed, Kennedy said Montoya knew Franchini would be on vacation that day.
The commission hired Franchini in