EATON — During their meeting on Wednesday, July 12, Preble County Commissioners noted receipt of a court order from Judge David Abruzzo regarding a health screening surcharge for one of his employees.
“I believe in prior discussions with them we wanted to collect the surcharge within the year it was imposed,” Clerk Connie Crowell explained. “This does not do that. I think because of an error in the auditor’s office, it was realized that the surcharge was not being collected and in order to catch up they were going to be surcharged every pay period. This rolls it out until May 2018, because they believe we caused a hardship on their employee.”
Commissioner Chris Day replied, “One thing I will say is that we didn’t cause anything. They caused this on themselves. Commissioner Robertson, correct me if I’m wrong, but everyone knew the timeline and knew what we needed to do. I don’t want to make you an example, but you are paying the surcharge also.”
Commissioner Denise Robertson confirmed she is also paying the surcharge.
“I think we don’t have an issue with the way we implemented this,” Commissioner Rodney Creech said. “This issue is with an employee who didn’t do it. If you look at the percentage of people who did it, it’s obviously not a communication problem. I don’t know what the problem is, but it is too bad that the judge, again, has the power to spend the tax payers dollars. In this case it’s not costing the tax payer any dollars, but it’s not following protocol. It’s just sad. I hate that, because they should be at a higher standard than anybody, but a stroke of a pen and they can do anything they want.
“What happened is, the judge had an employee who didn’t follow protocol, like the rest of the county. He’s making it right, because it’s his employee. He’s overriding everybody because he’s the judge.”
“I think the key thing is, people have to understand, the health insurance is a benefit, it’s not a right of passage,” Day said. “We just ask for people to do a few things so we can keep our premium down and this is all about trying to save money by keeping our premiums down and affordable so we can provide that benefit. Eventually, we may not be able to provide health insurance for everyone. With the way things are going in health care field, we don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring with health care. It’s on the news every day.
“All the stuff we ask the employees to do to try and keep our cost down, hopefully it makes them a better person. The health screenings identify if you have high blood pressure, cholesterol, whatever. Then you have the ability to take that information and make yourself healthier. This is a benefit, not a right. It’s a pretty good benefit. It’s unfortunate that people like to play by their own rules.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH