Cover Oregon director still getting paid $14K a month after “resignation”
posted at 3:21 pm on May 22, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
The lack of ObamaCare accountability extends farther than just the boundaries of the Beltway. In fact, as The Oregonian discovers, it goes from sea to shining sea. The reviled director of Cover Oregon, whose failed web portal has prompted a federal investigation into potential fraud, supposedly resigned his post and got kicked out of his government sinecure. It turns out that he’s just on an extended vacation (via Drudge Report):
Bruce Goldberg, the respected, long-time director of the Oregon Health Authority, offered to resign on March 18. Two days later, with the Cover Oregon tech mess going from bad to worse, Gov. John Kitzhaber announced that he’d shown Goldberg the door.
The resignation was “effective immediately,” said officials in the governor’s office.
Or so we thought.
It turns out, Goldberg never really left and is now drawing a full-time salary from the state. Oregon officials confirm Goldberg returned to full-time status at the Oregon Health Authority on May 15 and will use his accrued vacation pay until July 18.
He’s getting paid $14,425 a month.
Let’s not forget that Oregon taxpayers are footing that bill to pay for exactly zero enrollments through their $250 million web portal. Governor John Kitzhaber laid all of the blame for the failure at Goldberg’s feet over the past few weeks, no doubt hoping to escape culpability himself. Oregon taxpayers already on the hook for hundreds of millions of wasted dollars might have assumed at that point that at least they weren’t paying for Goldberg’s incompetent leadership any longer, and for very good reason.
What happened? Cover Oregon and Oregon Health Authority played a shell game with Goldberg. His resignation didn’t stop his paycheck at the latter until April 10, when Goldberg officially got paid $3600 a month to be a “consultant” to Cover Oregon. Why Cover Oregon needed to have the man Kitzhaber blamed for its utter failure on hand as a consultant is another question Oregon taxpayers should be asking themselves, but that arrangement only lasted five weeks. That’s when OHA brought Goldberg back on at full salary — and full health and pension benefits, which provides knife-twist irony to this story.
Last week, federal investigators issued subpoenas to Cover Oregon, OHA, and its officials in the criminal probe:
The federal criminal investigation of Oregon’s health insurance exchange took a step into public view Tuesday when the U.S. Attorney’s office issued broad subpoenas seeking information from Cover Oregon and the Oregon Health Authority.
While the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s interest in the exchange debacle had beenpreviously reported, the legal demands dated May 13 indicate things may have moved beyond a preliminary inquiry to a full-blown investigation.
The investigation, led by federal prosecutors and the FBI, is seeking documents, memos, and emails between the two state entities that oversaw the botched health exchange with U.S. authorities in charge of dispensing federal money for the project.
At least they’ll know where to find Goldberg. Maybe Kitzhaber can take a page from the Barack Obama playbook and put Goldberg in charge of the state’s investigation into Goldberg’s alleged failures.
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