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Commissioners address Corporate Systems lawsuit, NACo membership, redistricting

Updates on ongoing issues were provided during the Feb. 28 meeting of the Washington County Commission.
Corporate Systems
The court has ordered the County to mediate with Corporate Systems, a company that previously worked with the county when it was self-insured.
The county initially filed suit against the company after a discrepancy in how much the county should be paying for its policy. The county argued it was overcharged by some $360,000.
Dates in March and April are being considered for the mediation session.
According to County Attorney John Rambo, Mayor Dan Eldridge will represent Washington County in the mediation.
“If a settlement is reached, it will be brought to the Commission for approval,” Rambo said.
No criminal charges will be pursued, Rambo said, despite the fact that commissioners had previously claimed it was possible a county official’s signature had been forged on some of the company’s paperwork.
Commissioners voted to renew the county’s membership with the National Association of Counties, a lobbying organization representing county government.
According to Commissioner Greg Matherly, the Sheriff’s Office has benefitted from NACo’s being a grants clearinghouse. Though Matherly could not provide a specific amount of dollars received as a result of NACo, he did say the organization is “an excellent resource for us.”
While Matherly agreed grant opportunities could be found and applied for without being a member, he said the NACo representatives lobby on the county’s behalf to increase chances for success in being awarded funds.
The prescription discount card and the deferred compensation program were other reasons given for renewing membership.
The discount card is a partnership between NACo and CVS Caremark that offers the Caremark-negotiated discount rates to residents who are uninsured or underinsured. The deferred compensation program is through Nationwide Retirement Solutions, but county employees could participate regardless of membership in NACo.
Only 68 discount cards have been used by Washington Countians.
“If we’re going to spend taxpayer dollars, we need a plan to inform taxpayers of their options and how to access the benefits,” said Eldridge, who had not planned on renewing the NACo membership.
Commissioner Pat Wolfe asked if the $2,144 membership amount paid last year is budgeted. Washington County Budget Director Bobbye Web said it was, but the membership fee may have increased.
The motion to renew membership made by Commissioner Ethan Flynn was amended to include an agreement that the Commercial, Industrial and Agricultural Committee develop and administer a NACo awareness plan.
Commissioner Skip Oldham questioned the way the Committee on Committees appointed a Redistricting Committee since it is considered a special committee, which can only be appointed by the mayor.
Commissioner Mark Ferguson requested a suspension of the rules to do things differently.
“I met with the mayor before the Committee on Committees met, and he said he was not going to become involved,” Ferguson said.
While no committee is designated to make appointments, committees are allowed to bring a plan before the Commission, Rambo said.
Wolfe emphasized the need for each district to be represented on the committee, which was not the case in the initial list of nominees.
To fix the issue, commissioners Richard Matherly, Lee Chase and Skip Oldham were added to the seven original nominees of Gerald Sparks, Greg Matherly, Alpha Bridger, Roger Nave, Ben Bowman, David Shanks and Ferguson.