N. D. Poolman May be Considered for Workers’ Comp Interim CEO

March 10, 2008

The directors of North Dakota’s workers’ compensation agency will consider choosing an interim chief executive officer, and may hire someone within a week, state officials say.

Former Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman and Bruce Furness, the former mayor of Fargo, have been suggested as possible candidates.

A consultant recommended last week that the Workforce Safety and Insurance board replace the current interim CEO, John Halvorson, as soon as possible. Henry Neal Conolly, who is a former director of North Dakota’s workers compensation fund, said the change would help restore public confidence in the agency.

Halvorson has held the top job since December, when former director Sandy Blunt was forced out of his job. Halvorson is the agency’s chief of employer services, and Conolly said an outsider is needed to observe the agency and make needed changes.

Rep. Rick Berg, R-Fargo, the House Republican majority leader, has suggested hiring an interim chief executive officer. Mark Gjovig, the chairman of Workforce Safety’s board, said the panel is likely to take up the question Thursday.

Berg said he believed an interim chief executive officer may be hired within a week.

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