2016-06-08 / Front Page

Commissioners debate additional health care costs

Savings in hospital costs could alleviate situation
By Debbie Lowe
Staff writer

Carroll County Commissioners John Brown and Bill Brown heard from APEX Health Solutions representative Rebecca Leeman Monday morning who informed the group IU Health Physicians have left the health provider network and formed its own organization. Leeman said employees on the county’s health care plan can no longer use an IU Health physician without an additional cost.

Leeman advised employees, who currently have a $2,000 deductible for physician care, could pay a $4,000 deductible to see their IU doctor. She also said the health care provider could bill the county and the county could pay the network benefit level rate and the additional deductible amount, when it applies.

Leeman was not able to determine how much extra the measure would cost the county to pay extra for the approximate 100 employees enrolled in the county’s plan. She explained APEX is saving the county roughly 60 percent of what was expected in hospital (facility) costs. She said the savings will offset the extra physicians costs for the county.

Commissioner Pat Clawson was not at the meeting. The decision about how to proceed was tabled until the June 20 meeting.

Human resources duties

County Auditor Tom Gray told Commissioners he is not willing to continue to provide Human Resources (HR) duties after June 30 unless he is compensated for the work. He said the Indiana Code does not list the duty as one required of the Auditor. Gray now receives $1,000 more than other elected officials each year for the work. He said the amount, roughly $20 each week extra, is not enough money for him to continue to provide the services.

“Twenty dollars a week doesn’t cut it,” Gray said.

Commissioners attorney Ted Johnson called HR duties “a critical function” of county government. He said if HR duties are not performed, it could become a liability for the county.

“You are going to have to fill the void someway,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Commissioners could recommend to the County Council to increase Gray’s salary. Gray said he wants an additional $8,000 per year to do the work. Johnson said Commissioners could find funds for another County Coordinator to assume the HR duties or they could hire an HR employee. Johnson suggested a Commissioner could confer with a Council member outside of a meeting or could attend the next Council meeting to discuss the situation.

It was decided John Brown will attend the June 16 County Council meeting to discuss HR duties.

911 salary disputes

911 Lead Communicator Cassie Lane explained to Commissioners one person from the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) has been paid out of the 911 budget several times. She said she has been tracking this situation by using paycheck stubs.

Lane advised Auditor Gray has decided paycheck stubs will no longer be printed for employees and has refused her request for the information.

Gray said employees can log onto a site to retrieve their stubs. Lane said she is not able to log onto another employee’s account for the information. She said she was told the situation has been rectified, however she has not found that information to be true. She further indicated if the EMS employee is no longer being compensated from the 911 budget, there is still money to be repaid to her budget.

Gray said all paycheck stubs are printed one time as an official county record. He said Lane could visit his office to review the record to determine if the matter has been resolved.

In another 911 matter, a dispatcher who, while on vacation, worked to fill a vacancy in the department, said he should be paid time and a half for the time worked. He said he was already on vacation, therefore he already earned the regular wages. He said anything more should be for more money.

Gray indicated vacation time does not equal worked time. He said the Personnel Handbook dictates an employee must work 40 hours in the time period before time and a half is earned.

It was determined the situation would be discussed at the next Personnel Policy Advisory Committee meeting. Commissioner Bill Brown advocated for the committee members, of which he is one, to change the county policy to allow 911 dispatchers to be paid more if they work during a vacation and make it retroactive. Commissioners will vote on the recommendation of the committee, according to Johnson.

Other business

Jefferson Township Trustee Rex Millhouse said he is no longer receiving agendas for commissioners and council meetings, as has been done by email in the past. Gray said he sends the agendas to council members and commissioners only now.

“Things have changed,” he told Millhouse.

A dispute between the County Parks Board and the contractor hired by Commissioners to mow the parks was discussed. Parks Board President Al Buttice advised Commissioners all claims for services are to be delivered to the department heads now and not the auditor’s office, according to Auditor Gray. Buttice said he is unhappy with the job the mowers are doing and he is not going to approve the most recent claim.

It was determined Commissioners should receive input, such as specific requirements, from department heads before signing contracts for services. It was also noted Carroll Manor purchases additional lawn services from the contractor when needed. Commissioners agreed claims from the contractor will be received in the courthouse for approval for payment.

Highway Engineer Paul Couts said the deadline to apply for a $1 million INDOT grant is July 15. He said he will use the recent money received from the State for most of the match and the remainder is to come from the Rainy Day Fund. Couts said he expects bids for work to be awarded in August.

The Animal Control Committee will meet June 13 at 7 p.m. in the Commissioners meeting room.

The next meeting will be June 20 at 9 a.m.

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