PEIA Report: Subcommittee’s woes do not inspire confidence

Members of the Public Employee Insurance Agency Taskforce Public Outreach Subcommittee are demonstrating precisely why so many ordinary folks feel distrustful of the work done by government-formed committees. The group was asked to submit a final report based on the comments and suggestions of those who attended 21 public meetings or filled out surveys to look for ways to “fix” PEIA.

They have missed their deadline for submitting that information to the full task force because, incredibly, they cannot agree on what kind of report to submit.

It seems the sort of decision that should have made as one of the first steps at the first meeting of the subcommittee.

But now members of the subcommittee cannot decide between boiling down the public’s comments into a set of official recommendations, or simply relaying what members of the public had to say on the matter. Again, out here in the real world, that direction would have come from the task force as a whole at the creation of the subcommittee.

Instead, the subcommittee is set to meet again Aug. 7 — one wonders whether any effort at compromise will occur in the meantime — to finalize the report before submitting it to the full task force. THEN, the Cost and Revenue Subcommittee will meet Aug. 23, after which they will have two weeks to digest the information.

There are approximately 233,000 participating members of PEIA. Hundreds of thousands more West Virginians are affected by this conversation as taxpayers. And now, a report meant to inform the decision-making in trying to “fix” the program is being held up by disagreement on a detail that should have been decided BEFORE those with divergent agendas had a chance to see what the public had to say, and how presenting that information might best suit those agendas.