Posts Tagged ‘Garry & Associates’

ID-100253379

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Clay County employees are fearful this week because Presiding Commissioner Pam Mason is terrorizing them with lies and misinformation yet again. This week she is scaring them about their health insurance.

 

In an effort to manipulate employees into pressuring Commissioner Luann Ridgeway to approve the contract for an employee benefit consultant quickly and without question, Mason has told her staff to scare County employees into believing their health insurance benefits will be cancelled if Ridgeway doesn’t approve the contract immediately.

 

This is not true. The County has separate, stand alone contracts with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Delta Dental and EyeMed Vision that are not at all affected by whether or not the county has a contract with Garry & Associates.

 

A benefit consultant is used to evaluate insurance plans offered by insurance companies and negotiate rates with them for the benefit of the company buying its employees health insurance.  They are frequently used by local governments to help ensure that citizen resources are used in the most cost effective way possible.

 

For several meetings now, the County Commission has had Resolution 2014-137, a contract for employee benefit consulting with Garry & Associates, on its agenda for approval. http://webdocs.claycogov.com/resord/docserv.php?id=2014-137 Commissioner Ridgeway has asked for more information before renewing the contract with Garry & Associates.  Ridgeway’s request is that a contract amendment be made that will allow more transparency in this agreement – and all future contracts the Presiding Commissioner signs on behalf of Clay County taxpayers.

 

Before Garry & Associates, the County had a contract with CBiz for employee benefit consulting. The County’s $38,500 contract with CBiz was replaced last year after a meeting that occurred behind closed doors on June 3, 2013. The replacement contract was a $90,000 contract awarded to Garry & Associates. Yes, $51,500 more than what the County was paying to CBiz for the exact same services. This year the contract with Garry & Associates is proposed to be renewed for $91,890.

 

This means Clay County taxpayers are paying an additional $51,500 each year for the benefit consultant alone. If citizens were saving that much or more on the amount the County pays for employee benefits, that would justify the County Commission’s decision last year to spend the extra money with Garry & Associates. However, citizens actually are paying 6% more for County employees’ health insurance this year.  This is approximately $260,000 in added costs to taxpayers on top of the $51,500. http://webdocs.claycogov.com/resord/docserv.php?id=2013-349

 

Joshua Garry, the owner of Garry & Associates, contributed $1,000 on 9/14/12 to Gene Owen’s campaign for Commissioner and $650 on 4/9/2008.

 

It has cost Clay County taxpayers more than $310,000 this year to pay back yet another friend of this County Commission.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is how the saying goes. This saying is especially true right now in Clay County. They give contracts to their friends; like Meara Welch Brown and Garry & Associates. They give jobs to their friends; like Matt Thompson and Blake Scott. This County Commission has even created brand new positions for their friends.

In May 2013, Dale McCaslin was hired as the assistant director at the Clay County Airport. The newly created job paid $52,000 per year plus benefits. There was no job description for the job at the time he was hired and when he left the position at the end of 2013, after the situation was made public, the position was not refilled.

Dale McCaslin is the husband of former Clay County Treasurer, Carol McCaslin.

Carol McCaslin has been a long time, very close friend of Pam Mason. They take long lunches together, spend hours in meetings together, shop together, and plan their campaigns together.

McCaslin lost her bid for re-election in 2012 to Republican Ted Graves. Since leaving the Treasurer’s office, she has worked part time for Cathy Rinehart, the Clay County Assessor and in May of 2013, the County Commission hired Dale McCaslin into a newly created position at the Clay County Airport. Now she has filed as a Republican for County Auditor and her husband, and Dale McCaslin has filed as a Democrat.

I am certain that it took quite a bit of pressure from Pam Mason to get the McCaslins to file for County Auditor, but when you owe Pam Mason and Gene Owen so much, it is hard to say no. It is even more difficult to say no when you need a job.

Carol McCaslin, flipped parties to file as a Republican. I have spent a fair amount of time with Carol McCaslin over the past few years and she holds no ideological views that are consistent with the Republican party platform. I don’t know much about Dale McCaslin because politics have never really been his thing. When he has attended a political function, it has only been to support his wife.

The citizens of this county deserve some one in the auditor’s office that will work for them, not be a rubber stamp for the county commission. We need a voice that is able to say no when it is necessary. It is important that the County Auditor be independent and not owe anything to any other elected official. Both of the McCaslins are indebted to the County Commission and the County Assessor.