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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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County Board Okays Self Insurance Proposals

Issue Date: November 15, 2018

Much of the business at the Marinette County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13 was aimed at tying up year end details for changes that will go into effect when the new year starts on Tuesday, Jan. 1.

County Administrator John LeFebvre told the board that he and Supervisor Ken Keller, who chairs the Board's Public Services Committee, have been holding interviews aimed at filling the new Medical Examiner's position that will repeal the elected county coroner post after incumbent Coroner George Smith's term ends after the first of the year.

The board at previous meetings had approved LeFebvre's recommendation to combine the medical examiner/coroner responsibilities with other county job duties and make it a full time position. LeFebvre said he expects to have a recommendation for the board's meeting on Tuesday, Dec.18.

All systems are go for Marinette County employees to have health insurance provided through the county's new re-developed self insurance program effective Jan. 1 with nearly identical benefits, LeFebvre told the board.

He said Human Resources Director Jennifer Holtger has accomplished the nearly impossible by accomplishing the changeover with minimal advance notice after the county was informed by Group Health Trust (GHT) that its premiums would increase by 13.5 percent for 2019. At a special meeting on Sept. 27 the board had authorized Holtger "to negotiate, establish and enter into an agreement for a 2019 self-insured health and dental insurance plan, agreement subject to County Administrator and Corporation Counsel approval." There were no dissenting votes, and the work proceeded.

LeFebvre said GHT had later offered to cut its rate increase to 11.5 percent, and then had actually helped speed up the work done by himself and Holtger "by throwing the gauntlet and saying there's no way you can move a plan in 30 days." He said that was a challenge to Holtger, and she took it upon herself to prove them wrong.

In connection with that change, as recommended by the Administrative Committee at its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 30, the board approved moving $100,000 from the 2018 Contingency Fund to initially finance the self insurance fund and the transfer to Anthem as the county's loss limit provider and claims administrator. He said once things get underway every bi-weekly payroll brings in about $250,000 in insurance premiums between the amounts paid by employees and the amounts charged to the departments. This money will be used to finance the self-insurance program.

The board also approved LeFebvre's after-the fact recommendation to offer employees two plans - with different providers - at 10 percent contribution toward premiums for the Priority Plan and 15 percent for the Preferred Plan network. He said the employees have already selected the group they will join and insurance cards should be going out to them in mid-December.

With the end of the old plan the employee clinics will come to an end. LeFebvre said Holtger is working on that, and he expects her to have a clinic proposal for the board in March.

Another complication of the switch in insurance coverage is that the very active Employee Wellness Group has been receiving a grant of $15,000 a year from GHT to finance its activities, and that will come to an end. He said he expects to come to he board with a request for funding later this year.

At that meeting supervisors also approved contracts needed for the re-opening of the former Crossroads Juvenile Group Home on Schacht Road in the Town of Peshtigo as "Share Academy" effective Saturday, Dec. 1. Contract for December is $44,883.04 and a separate agreement will take care of operation of the home by Healthy Transitional Living in 2019. Lease of the county owned facility to Healthy Transitional Living also was approved without dissent.

County Board approved LeFebvre's appointment of Supervisor Ginger Deschane to serve on the board of directors for the Marinette County Group Home Association, Inc., which formerly operated Crossroads and currently operates Anthony House and Taylor House, which are group homes for adults with specific problems.

The board also approved re-appointment of veteran Michael McGowan of Marinette to the Veterans Service commission for another three year term, expiring in 2021. In a letter asking for re-appointment, McGowan wrote that he continues to be active with local veteran organizations and veteran's issues. "The Veterans Service Commission, providing aid to needy Marinette County veterans and their families, is an important function of county government," McGowan wrote. "I would be proud to continue serving on the commission and to led assistance to our needy veterans." Approval was unanimous.

Approval also was unanimous for LeFebvre's appointment of Dunbar Town Chair Harry Sokel as a member of the Marinette County Board of Adjustment to replace Carl Turkiewicz, who was no longer interested in serving. Sokel has been serving on the Board of Adjustment as first alternate. A new first alternate will need to be selected, and a second alternate is also needed.

Other committee vacancies to be filled are a 2-year term as a representative of a private industry, business or utility on the county's Industrial Development Corp. revolving loan fund committee, and two 2-year terms on the Marinette county Tourism Alliance Committee, one as representative of the Village of Wausaukee and one as representative of Cougar Country Business Association.

A number of terms expire on Dec. 31, and incumbents will likely be reappointed at the board's December meeting. These include positions on the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, Elderly Services, Health and Human Services Board, Industrial Development Corp. board, Library Board and Nicolet Federated Library System.

Contract with Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation Excess Workers Compensation and Claims administration for 2019 at a cost of $54,783, was also approved without dissent.


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