|By Toluse Olorunnipa, The Miami Herald|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"First off, they have these outrageous pay raises," Scott said in an interview. "They ought to give that back. Those ought to go back."
The raises, first reported by the Herald/Times, came as the state-run company was increasing homeowners' insurance rates and scaling back coverage. In the Herald/Times interview, Scott said no one told him about the pay hikes -- some as large as
Citizens has been involved in a number of controversies in the last year as news of the company's spending habits has come to light. Expenditures unearthed by the Herald/Times, independent auditors and Scott's chief inspector general include gourmet dinners, alcohol, international travel and stays in
A Citizens spokesperson said the company will "revisit" its board-approved compensation plan and "make a revised recommendation at the March meeting." The company did not say whether or not executives would return the money they received in raises last year.
In an opinion piece published Wednesday in the
"The raises also followed three straight years of no merit raises and were accompanied by a decrease to benefits in the form of increased health insurance premiums and higher co-pays," Lacasa wrote.
Scott said that his staff had heard Citizens' rationale for raising the salaries, but he remained critical of the pay increases, which went out to some of the highest-paid execs at the state-run insurer. Thousands of employees at state agencies have not received a raise in six years.
On several occasions, Scott criticized executives' use of the corporate credit card to buy alcohol, including purchases brought to light by Chief Inspector General
Citizens responded to Miguel's findings by saying that Lacasa had reimbursed the company for
"We shouldn't be reimbursing them for alcohol," Scott said. "This is a state-organized entity. It shouldn't be any different."
Citizens has agreed to adopt policies that more closely mirror travel laws that govern state agencies, with president
Shortly after becoming president, Gilway approved raises topping
Scott, who has steered clear of taking major policy positions on the politically thorny issue of property insurance, did not hold back when it came to weighing in on the salary raises.
Breaking from his normally mild demeanor, the governor used words like "ridiculous," "foolish," and "outrageous" to describe the spending decisions at Citizens.
"When I see some people doing some foolish things -- this is a government-organized entity," said Scott. "People shouldn't be doing these things."
Toluse Olorunnipa can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @ToluseO.
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