- Associated Press - Friday, July 22, 2016

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) - Twin Falls County’s insurance premiums have gone up due to lawsuit settlements paid by Idaho Counties Risk Management Program.

The Times-News reports (https://bit.ly/2aASO8n ) that the county’s insurance payments have increased 58 percent over the past five years from $350,639 for the 2012 fiscal year to $553,114 for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

The increase comes after the Risk Management Program paid $1.35 million to settle lawsuits against Twin Falls County between 2012 and 2015, most recently settling a gender-related harassment and discrimination lawsuit. Most of the lawsuits pertained to allegations of inmates’ mistreatment in jail.

“Jail is the biggest liability you have in this business,” Twin Falls County Sheriff Tom Carter said.

Twin Falls County Commissioner Leon Mills said the premiums have increased so dramatically because of the settlements.

The Risk Management Program “pays whatever the settlement is, then adjusts premiums to get their money back over time,” Mills said.

Of the $1.35 million paid, $500,000 was for the discrimination lawsuit filed by former deputies against Carter.

The female deputies said they were bypassed for promotions and one was demoted from a staff sergeant position and replaced by a man.

The complaint also said they were paid less than the men and denied training opportunities men had. The civil lawsuit also said there was a pervasive atmosphere of sexual harassment.

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Information from: The Times-News, https://www.magicvalley.com

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