A former Greater Washington Board of Trade lobbyist who helped draft the new D.C. workers' compensation law that has drawn sharp fire from labor groups has been named by the city to administer the new law.
Bruce Eanet, the former lobbyist, was appointed by the Department of Employment Services as an associate director in charge of the office of workers' compensation, department officials confirmed yesterday. The post pays between $48,167 and $56,300 a year.
Eanet was slated to receive that job last May, prior to the election, but city officials backed down after Joslyn Williams, president of the Greater Washington Central Labor Council, vigorously protested the planned appointment to City Administrator Elijah B. Rogers.
Williams said then that hiring Eanet would be "like placing the fox in charge of the chicken coop."
The department nonetheless retained Eanet as a $45,000-a-year consultant to help implement the new law. Later he was made a special assistant to Mattie Taylor, a deputy director in the department. Last week, Eanet was promoted to head the public and private-sector workers' compensation program.
In 1979, Eanet wrote a lobbying paper for the board of trade that became the basis for sweeping changes in the city's laws affecting the payment of insurance claims to injured workers.
The new law, which went into effect last July, reduces by nearly a third the annual insurance premiums that businesses must pay. Stephen D. Harlan, president of the Board of Trade, said that the previous workers compensation system, one of the more costly in the country for employers, had been a major deterrent to business operations.
Matthew Shannon, acting director of the Department of Employment Services, said yesterday that Eanet was "far and away the best candidate" among 14 persons who applied for the associate director's post.
He said Rogers "signed off" on the appointment, but that he didn't know whether labor leaders had been consulted beforehand.
Williams could not be reached for comment yesterday, but a spokesman said that Williams was concerned about the appointment.