City to purchase R-II site for police-fire station | News

The Mary City Council met for about three hours Monday during an evening that included a special early session, which ended with a vote to switch health insurance providers, plus an agenda-heavy regular session embracing everything from zoning proposals to the approval of a new $32 million budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

But the big news came after the governing board adjourned then reconvened for a brief closed meeting, after which City Manager Greg McDanel announced the council had tentatively approved purchase of 1.7 acres of land from the Maryville R-II School District, which will serve as the future site of a new Maryville Public Safety police headquarters and fire station.

The site, located near the intersection of First and Vine at the top of a rise at the west end of a large, grass-covered field, is the former location of Washington School, which served as the district’s high school from 1908 until 1965 and its middle school until 1999. An earlier school building was constructed there in 1883.

McDanel declined to disclose how much the city will pay for the location, saying only that more information about the sale may be available by the next council meeting on Oct. 9.

The proposed MPS headquarters, which carries an estimated cost of around $4 million, is included in the 2018 capital improvements budget, also approved by the council Monday.

Now that a site has been chosen, McDanel said the next step for City Hall staff will be to start preparing a “request for qualifications” document in an effort to attract offers from design-build constructions firms.

“Design-build” is a phrase used to describe projects where architectural-design functions and construction are handled by the same contractor. The process is commonly used for facilities such as hotels, dormitories, retail franchises and public buildings where a common blueprint and similar construction processes are suitable at multiple locations.

McDanel said the city will pay R-II for the real estate from reserves when the deal closes then reimburse itself with proceeds from some type of financing, probably certificates of participation, a form of debt often used to provide up-front cash for major municipal capital projects.

The debt is to be serviced with proceeds from Maryville’s half-cent capital improvements sales tax, which voters renewed last April for another 20 years. The promise of a new police-fire headquarters was one of the main selling points for the tax offered by city officials in the run-up to the election.

On other fronts Monday, the council accepted a proposal from the Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association, known as MIRMA, to provide pool-based health insurance for city employees during the upcoming fiscal year.

More than 30 city workers crowded into the council chamber for a discussion about the plan, which the council approved 4-1, the sole no vote coming from Councilwoman Renee Riedel.

In preparing next year’s budget, municipal staff had recommended accepting an offer from the city’s current provider, United Healthcare, that would have significantly raised deductibles, co-pays, out-of-pocket maximums and other charges in exchange for keeping premiums at around $1 million a year.

United’s original bid, which maintained the current level of costs and benefits to workers, would have raised the city’s premiums by nearly 30 percent.

The MIRMA plan, which amounts to self-insurance, keeps employee expenses low but holds the potential for significantly raising the city’s premiums in the event of major claims.

However, should the city have a year with relatively few, or relatively inexpensive, claims, its overall premium cost could decrease somewhat.

Unchanged by the switch to MIRMA is what McDanel described as the city’s “rich” basic insurance package, which pays 100 percent of monthly premiums for employees and 70 percent of premiums for employee families.  

Councilman Jerry Riggs, who motioned for approval of the MIRMA offer, nevertheless warned the city employees in attendance that while the deal looked good, it was structured in such a way that could lead to unsustainable costs that might force municipal budget cuts or even layoffs.

“Does anybody really believe that premiums are going down next year?” Riggs asked. “We’re just kicking the can down the road.”

Other business on the council docket Monday included a special use permit request from Joe, Diana and James Richardson of Northwest Equipment Rental, which died on the floor for lack of a motion.

The Richardsons were asking permission to continue operating a construction equipment rental business at 201 East First St., which would required an exception to the existing C-2 general business zoning classification.

On Sept. 13 the Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend approval of the special-use request provided there were restrictions on the size of equipment displayed on the property.

Municipal staff, however, argued that the Richardsons’ proposal did not blend with “the character of the neighborhood,” which was described as a “gateway corridor into our community.”

A second property-use item involved a request by MTE Properties to rezone a structure at 213 N. Vine St. from R-4 multi-family to C-2 general business district. The property has been used for several years as a warehouse by MTE Office Center.

While noting that the request may conflict with land-use guidelines set forth in the city’s comprehensive plan, municipal staff recommended approval based on the property’s longstanding history as an MTE facility.

A third land-use request, also approved, came from Jason and Renae Luke, who sought to rezone property at 200 N. Dewey St. from R-4 multi-family residential to C-2 general business.

The building in question formerly housed an auto parts business, a non-conforming use “grandfathered in” due to its existence before current zoning was enacted.

Municipal staff had recommended approval, noting that the comprehensive plan “does allow integration of limited office and convenience commercial within the high density residential area.”

On other fronts, the council passed an ordinance proposing increased procurement spending limits for selected municipal staff. The code revision increases the department head threshold from $1,000 to $2,000 and the city manager threshold from $5,000 to $10,000.

Additional business included:             

• Passage of a proposed ordinance to amend the constitution of the Mozingo Lake Advisory Board so that it consists of five members appointed by the City Council, two members appointed by the Maryville R-II School District and two members appointed by the Nodaway County Commission.

The City Council would still have to ratify all those nominated to serve.

• Passage of an ordinance implementing a 10-percent increase for cabin rentals at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park along with a reduction in reserved recreational vehicle campsite fees from $35 a day ($25 off-season) to $25 a day ($18 off-season) with a one-time $10 reservation fee.

• Approval of a $54,442 contract with locally based DS Painting for painting and floor-coating work at the Mozingo Lake conference center. 

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Shawnee County revises plan to comply with federal civil rights laws

Shawnee County administrative services director Betty Greiner said Monday she doubts being assigned to receive and investigate discrimination complaints will bring much of an additional workload for facilities management director Bill Kroll.

Greiner spoke before commissioners Bob Archer, Kevin Cook and Shelly Buhler at their morning meeting, where they subsequently voted 3-0 to approve a revised plan for complying with federal discrimination laws.

The replacement plan is different from its predecessor in that it calls for the county to appoint a Title VI and Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator to be in charge of receiving and investigating complaints. Kroll will hold that position in addition to his current duties.

The new plan also arranges for a notice to be posted in public areas of all Shawnee County offices informing the public of its rights under Title VI and the procedures to file a complaint with Shawnee County.

Archer thanked deputy county counselor Jonathan Brzon for the work he did on the plan.

The 25-page document is aimed at keeping the county in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Title VI seeks to ensure no one is denied benefits or excluded on the basis of race, color or national origin from any program, activity or service that receives federal financial assistance.

The revised plan doesn’t really change the way the county does business, Greiner said.

The commission heard a first reading of the proposal Thursday, when county officials stressed that no one is forcing the county to revise its rules.

Commissioners made one amendment before adopting the proposal Monday.

They voted 3-0 to approve Archer’s motion to revise a line that said the county health department has a staff member “severing” on a specific committee to instead say it has a staff member “serving” on that committee.

“Spell check works, but sometimes you have to double check things to make sure they’re correct,” Archer said.

Commissioners also voted 3-0 to upgrade the county’s insurance coverage to full coverage for its solid waste department’s refuse trucks, doing away with the prior arrangement involving third-party liability and county self-insurance.

The move came after a moving county refuse truck was destroyed by fire in July.

Tom Vlach, director of the solid waste and public works departments, told commissioners the change would “provide us some really good protection from potentially some very significant expenses.”

In other business, commissioners:

— Met behind closed doors in executive session to conduct job interviews to fill the vacant health department director’s position.

— Heard Archer say commissioners next Monday will take up a proposed 20-year comprehensive land use plan for the county’s unincorporated areas. The plan was crafted for the county by consultants from Omaha, Neb.-based RDg Planning and Design. Archer said commissioners hope to hear the public’s thoughts about it.

— Heard recreation director Randy Luebbe say a ribbon cutting to highlight a new partnership between the parks and recreation department and the Boys & Girls Club of Topeka will take place at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at Velma K. Paris Community Center, 6715 S.W. Westview Road.

Contact reporter Tim Hrenchir at (785) 295-1184 or @timhrenchir on Twitter.

Monument Health ends District 51 negotiations


Monument Health ends District 51 negotiations

Nearly a month after asking the District 51 Board of Education for consideration as an additional employee health insurance option, Monument Health abruptly ended negotiations with district staff earlier this month, citing “adversarial” interactions between the two organizations.

St. Mary’s Medical Center President Brian Davidson and Monument Health CEO Stephanie Motter told school board members in August that offering Monument Health as an additional health insurance option would save the district upward of $400,000 per year.

Board members asked district staff, including Risk Manager Sheila Naski, to run previous health claims through the Monument Health model to see if adding an additional option would save money.

That process ended on Sept. 15, when Motter sent a frustrated letter to Naski withdrawing the Grand Junction-based health network from consideration.

“Our goal over the past 16 months has been to … partner with you and help you offer District 51 employees a competitive choice for high quality health care at a reduced cost,” Motter said in the letter. “The recent interactions and organizational dynamics that we have experienced during the last several weeks, as we have attempted to support the repricing exercise as directed by the District 51 Board of Education, have caused us great concerns. We believe that the tight timeline and stress induced upon the benefits consultants have resulted in unproductive and unnecessarily adversarial encounters between our organizations,” Motter said.

School District 51 is self-
insured and currently offers two health insurance options — a high-deductible plan through Community Hospital and a preferred provider plan through Rocky Mountain Health Plans. The majority of employees are insured through the high-deductible plan.

Naski said the school district approached Monument Health to take over the preferred provider plan, and the organization instead asked to be considered as another high-deductible insurance option.

“Monument Health looked at this as a way of competing with Community Hospital and they wanted equal footing, and we don’t care about competition, we just want to provide the best health care plan that we can that’s affordable,” Naski said. “You combine that with their lack of experience in the self-insurance world and things just kind of broke down. It was almost like a car salesman trying to sell you a van, but all you want is a station wagon. The plan they were offering was the same as the Community one, but what we wanted was something completely different.”

Monument Health officials don’t want to displace any current health offerings, Davidson said, but rather offer a way for the district to save money.

“The repricing exercise was a complete circus, and the limited data we did get out of it showed that we would have saved the district a significant amount of money, more than enough to pay for at least a half-dozen teachers,” Davidson said. “I think it came to the point where even if they were going to save a million dollars it was too much work to offer up a choice for people.”

Naski said the process seemed to be more about Monument Health, and by extension St. Mary’s Medical Center, competing with Community Hospital.

“It was getting into, is this about us and our needs or is this about competition with another hospital?” Naski said. “The bottom line is we’re interested in providing the best health care we can afford for our employees. We don’t want to get into what’s fair or not fair for another hospital, and that’s where things kind of broke down.”

Naski said a large portion of district employees go to St. Mary’s Medical Center regardless of their insurance plan for services that Community doesn’t provide.

Monument Health’s board of directors was concerned about “conflicted politics” in the process, Davidson said, including with a third-party consultant who works with both District 51 and Community Hospital on their health insurance plans.

“It’s not going to happen for 2018, but I have significant faith in the new superintendent (Ken Haptonstall),” Davidson said. “We’ll keep trying. … We will continue to communicate with him and we’ll have a good chance at showing them some cost savings.”


Protecting our human capital – Lowell Sun Online

By John Spoto

In my last article, I talked about the risks we face in our financial lives. Managing these risks starts with identifying them, determining what could go wrong and how bad things could get. Only then we can construct a plan to protect against potentially catastrophic events.

The theory, known as “lifecycle finance,” explains how individuals and families can improve their standard of living by making smart financial decisions during the different phases of their lives. The central concept of lifecycle finance is the distinction between two types of wealth, human capital, and financial capital.

During our early working years, human capital represents the dominant portion of our wealth. The key component of human capital and the one crucial to achieving financial security is cash flow. Cash flow is the inflow and outflow from our earnings and spending. The difference between a household’s after-tax inflows and outflows is the net cash available for saving and investment. A consistent source of investable funds is by far the most critical factor in building the financial capital needed to support future goals.

The ability to sustain a positive cash flow is vulnerable to threats ranging from overspending to an unexpected drop in income from a job loss, disability or death.

The first scenario requires the simple but demanding commitment to reduce and limit spending so that large percentages of future income growth (raises, promotions, etc.

) go toward saving, investing and paying down debt. The second requires a multi-pronged approach including improving job skills to ensure career advancement, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and constructing a smart disability and life insurance program to protect against a loss of income.

Neither disability nor life insurance is cheap, so over-insuring by failing to do the requisite analysis could prove costly. Start by quantifying the impact on the family finances for the risk you are insuring against. For example, determine how other family members can mitigate the consequences by reducing expenses or increasing income. The balance is what you need to insure for.

As a household’s financial capital grows the need for disability and life insurance should steadily decrease as accumulated financial capital will provide “self-insurance” against risks to an individual’s cash flow. Conversely, as family income increases and household expenses and debts grow, increasing insurance coverage will likely be warranted.

In our next article, I will talk about protecting our financial capital.

This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice on individual financial, tax, or legal matters. Please consult the appropriate professional concerning your specific situation before making any decisions.

John Spoto is the founder of Sentry Financial Planning in Andover and Danvers. Sentry is a fee-only financial planning firm that does not work for any financial institution, sell financial or insurance products of any kind, or accept commissions or referral fees. For more information, call 978-475-2533 or visit www.sentryfinancialplanning.com.

Fairmont council to vote on letter of credit, property acquirement | Free

FAIRMONT — City Council members are expected to vote on changing the city’s letter of credit and acquiring additional properties Tuesday night.

The council will first hold a public hearing for an ordinance that would change the city’s letter of credit for its workers’ compensation self-insurance program from $250,000 to $500,000, according to Fairmont City Manager Robin Gomez.

“We self-insure for workers’ compensations, so under West Virginia code, we have to meet certain criteria that requires we have a letter of credit,” Gomez said. “The state, because they looked at our Fiscal Year 2016 audit and due to changes in accounting and how we have to report our pension liabilities, … it requires that we now have to have a larger credit letter for our workers’ compensation self-insurance program.”

After voting on that, council will hear the first reading of an ordinance that would have the city purchase the old Butcher School on the corner of Fourth Street and Albert Court, which caught on fire late last year.

“We will demolish it,” Gomez said. “It’s estimated to be between $150,000 to $200,000. It’s a big building. Hopefully the cost will be less than that. It’s a building that’s been abandoned for a long time. The person who bought it at a tax deed sale didn’t treat it very well.”

The school is near two other properties recently acquired by the city for demolition on Watson Avenue. The properties are near Coal Run Hollow, which is being considered for a project to turn the closed road into a greenspace and walking trail.

“It could really lead to a redevelopment of that area that could include the Fifth Street Park,” Gomez said. “That whole area has gone through a change and we will continue to revitalize that area.”

Then, the council will hear the first reading of an ordinance that would change the city’s policy on abandoned vehicles, making it more similar to state code.

“We are simply asking to repeal our ordinance and just follow what’s on the state code,” Gomez said. “There really isn’t a big difference, we just thought it would be easier if we followed the state code… Our ordinance has become antiquated and does not the meet the due process requirements that the state has. The process as to how you cite a vehicle and how you fine somebody has changed at a state level.”

Then, council will hear about an ordinance that would require anyone who rents a property to obtain a certificate of occupancies, increasing the fine for not having one from $100 to $500.

Council will also vote to adopt a resolution accepting a $25,000 grant to help repair the terracotta along the top of the Masonic Temple in downtown Fairmont.

“We’re going to repair all of that so that it stays better,” Gomez said.

After an executive session, council will re-appoint three members to the Planning and Zoning Commission, appoint two people to the Fairmont Parking Authority and appoint one person to the Fairmont Building Commission.

The Fairmont City Council meeting will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Public Safety Building on 500 Quincy St.

Road commission receives award for having low injury rates | News, Sports, Jobs

LANSING — The Alpena County Road Commission was recognized for having one of the lowest employee injury rates among Michigan road commissions by the County Road Association Self-Insurance Fund.

The road commission has received an award for having the lowest injury rate in its payroll classification, according to a press release.

Insurance fund administrator Jim deSpelder said this is uncommon among road commissions. The organization provides safety training and workers compensation coverage for road commissions.

“Our business is working on the roads. Working on the roads is physically demanding and puts our workers at risk of being injured by passing vehicles. It takes constantly reminding employees that their safety on the job is a primary concern of management,” deSpelder said. “Road commissions that have lower than average injury rates qualify to be on our honor rolls. They should be applauded for their achievement.”

Doug Robidoux, chairperson of the fund and the Mason County Road Commission, said low injury rates also have monetary benefits to road commissions.

“Lower injury rates result in lower workers compensation premiums. The monetary savings can go to other needs such as maintaining Michigan roads,” he said.

CRASIF is a Michigan-based group fund that provides disability management and workers’ compensation to road commissions and services 70 out of 83 of the state’s road commissions.

FedEx Corporation Lowers Guidance, but Execution Remains Solid — The Motley Fool

By now, most investors know that FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) was hit by a malware attack earlier this year. The impact was significant, with a $300 million income hit to FedEx’s newly acquired TNT Express business.

With that in mind, let’s take a broad-based view at FedEx’s fourth-quarter earnings.

FedEx Corporation first-quarter results: The raw numbers

TNT Express is now included within the FedEx express segment, so I’ve used the adjusted figures in the table. The reported express numbers include $88 million in TNT Express integration expenses.

Segment 

Revenue

Growth

Adjusted Operating Income

Growth

Margin

Change (Basis Points)

Express

$8,652

2.3%

$521

(20.1%)

6%

(170)

Ground

$4,639

8.1%

$626

2.6%

13.5%

(70)

Freight

$1,752

5.7%

$176

30.4%

10%

190

Total

$15,297

4.3%

$1,240

(6.8%)

8.1%

(100)

Data source: FedEx Corporation presentations. Data in millions of U.S. dollars. Year-on-year growth. 100 basis points = 1%.

The express segment still saw a dramatic fall in operating income, resulting from the cyberattack on TNT Express. According to FedEx CFO Alan Graf on the earnings call, “The net impact of the cyberattack on Q1 operating income was predominantly lost revenue, much of which dropped to the bottom line due to the fixed-cost nature of the TNT Network.”

In addition, TNT Express was forced to use third parties to recover from the attack so it could continue to service customers — and that further raised costs.

All told, express operating expenses increased 4.7% to $8.22 billion year on year, compared with a mere 2.3% revenue increase. That’s somewhat disappointing, as the express segment was the star performer in the previous quarter. 

Arrows point to a computer key labeled

Image source: Getty Images.

Guidance

The end result of the cyberattack was a $0.79 reduction in diluted EPS in the quarter, and Hurricane Harvey was blamed for a further $0.02 EPS reduction. That’s significant, considering adjusted diluted EPS was $2.51 in the quarter. Management was consequently forced to lower its full-year EPS forecast to a range of $11.05-$11.85 from a previous range of $12.45-$13.25. According to CEO Fred Smith on the earnings call, “Absent the cyber-terrorist attack on TNT Express, our annual guidance likely would have remained unchanged.” For reference, these EPS figures exclude pension accounting adjustments.

However, despite the necessity to invest in IT infrastructure following the cyberattack, there was no change to the full-year capital spending forecast of $5.9 billion. FedEx’s increased capital spending — including a combination of express fleet modernization and ground automation and capacity expansion in 2018 — is pressuring free cash flow generation. 

Ground and freight

In common with key rival United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE:UPS), FedEx is seeing good demand from e-commerce deliveries, but also some margin pressure as the cost of servicing the growth goes up. Both companies have resorted to raising prices and are taking pricing measures to ensure productive growth. As such, management reiterated that a 4.9% increase in prices in all three segments will take place at the start of the new calendar year.

In the ground segment, FedEx managed to increase average daily packaging volume and yield, but a 9% increase in operating expenses came from “continued network expansion and staffing costs, higher purchased transportation expenses, and increased self-insurance reserves.” The result was a 70-basis-point margin contraction. 

A bar chart showing fedex ground segment volume and yield growth

Data source: FedEx Corporation presentations. Chart by author.

Finally, the freight segment reported a significant improvement in revenue and margin, helped by an improving industrial economy.

Looking ahead

The financial hit from the cyberattack is obviously disappointing, particularly as it caused a reduction in full-year guidance. In addition, it took the shine off FedEx’s ongoing integration of TNT Express. Meanwhile, the ground segment continues to generate volume and yield growth, but it needs to improve margin performance in the future.

All told, aside from the cyberattack issues, it was a pretty solid quarter of execution from FedEx.

Strike looms in Dallas School District – News

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THE CITIZENS’ VOICE FILE The Dallas School District teachers went on strike last year over the ongoing contract dispute. Dallas teachers may strike again as soon as Friday as Tuesday’s negotiations between the district and teachers union failed to make progress.

Tuesday’s bargaining session between the Dallas School District and teachers union negotiators resulted in no progress as a strike on Friday looms.

Another bargaining session has been scheduled for Thursday.

“We presented the board with a three-year deal to run through the end of this year,” union President Michael Cherinka Jr. said in an email. “This would avert any strike and allow us to continue to bargain to find more potential savings than we already offered. … They outright rejected our offer with no counter as of yet. I hope they have a fair counter for us by Thursday.”

Teachers worked the last two school years without a labor deal and pay increases. The ongoing contract dispute resulted in a divisive teachers strike last year in November and December.

District Solicitor Vito DeLuca said the district — if it makes a counteroffer — will ignore the union’s insistence on retroactive pay increases and union opposition to a wage freeze and a requirement that teachers pay a premium contribution to get health benefits.

The district opposes Tuesday’s union proposal to increase all salaries by 1.5 percent on the pay matrix from the last union agreement, DeLuca said. That proposal would result in annual pay increases that range from 4.5 percent to 12 percent, DeLuca said.

Annual salaries on the matrix range from $34,501 to $80,886. The average salary for union members is $62,412, records show. The pay matrix has 16 steps and 12 columns, which are based on graduate school credits. Under the last labor deal, a teacher advanced one step annually on the pay matrix.

According to Cherinka, the offer to increase pay by 1.5 percent is on the total dollar amount from the salary scale in 2014-15. The union wants to fix the varying percentage increases that “are all over the place” in the matrix, Cherinka said.

Retroactive pay increases to cover 2015-16 and 2016-17 could be spread over time, so the district would “not have to take the hit all at once,” Cherinka said. The retroactive pay increases would cost $1.2 million, DeLuca said.

The union, the Dallas Education Association, agreed to changing plans for healthcare coverage that would save $174,000 and has proposed another change to reduce the cost of healthcare claims by another $500,000, Cherinka said.

The district is skeptical of the union’s health care proposal because it is based on assumptions that beneficiaries will choose another network provider and that will reduce the cost of all claims by 20 percent, DeLuca said.

The district directly pays the cost of claims through a self-insurance fund managed by Highmark. The union and district are waiting for claims information from Highmark to review potential cost savings.

Contact the writer:

mbuffer@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2073, @cvmikebuffer

Bargaining session produces no progress in Dallas teacher talks

Tuesday’s bargaining session between the Dallas School District and teachers union negotiators resulted in no progress as a strike on Friday looms.

Another bargaining session has been scheduled for Thursday. 

“We presented the board with a three-year deal to run through the end of this year,” union President Michael Cherinka Jr. said in an email. “This would avert any strike and allow us to continue to bargain to find more potential savings than we already offered. … They outright rejected our offer with no counter as of yet. I hope they have a fair counter for us by Thursday.”

Teachers worked the last two school years without a labor deal and pay increases. The ongoing contract dispute resulted in a divisive teachers strike last year in November and December.

District Solicitor Vito DeLuca said the district — if it makes a counteroffer — will ignore the union’s insistence on retroactive pay increases and union opposition to a wage freeze and a requirement that teachers pay a premium contribution to get health benefits.

The district opposes Tuesday’s union proposal to increase all salaries by 1.5 percent on the pay matrix from the last union agreement, DeLuca said. That proposal would result in annual pay increases that range from 4.5 percent to 12 percent, DeLuca said.

Annual salaries on the matrix range from $34,501 to $80,886. The average salary for union members is $62,412, records show. The pay matrix has 16 steps and 12 columns, which are based on graduate school credits. Under the last labor deal, a teacher advanced one step annually on the pay matrix.

According to Cherinka, the offer to increase pay by 1.5 percent is on the total dollar amount from the salary scale in 2014-15. The union wants to fix the varying percentage increases that “are all over the place” in the matrix, Cherinka said. 

Retroactive pay increases to cover 2015-16 and 2016-17 could be spread over time, so the district would “not have to take the hit all at once,” Cherinka said. The retroactive pay increases would cost $1.2 million, DeLuca said.

The union, the Dallas Education Association, agreed to changing plans for healthcare coverage that would save $174,000 and has proposed another change to reduce the cost of healthcare claims by another $500,000, Cherinka said. 

The district is skeptical of the union’s healthcare proposal because it is based on assumptions that beneficiaries will choose another network provider and that will reduce the cost of all claims by 20 percent, DeLuca said. 

The district directly pays the cost of claims through a self-insurance fund managed by Highmark. The union and district are waiting for claims information from Highmark to review potential cost savings.

Contact the writer: 

mbuffer@citizensvoice.com 

570-821-2073, @cvmikebuffer

First-of-Kind Unemployment Insurance Options for 501(c)(3) Nonprofits, Public Entities and Tribally

Since 1972, federal law has allowed 501(c)(3) nonprofits, public entities and tribally owned businesses to opt out of paying into the SUI program and instead reimburse the state for unemployment benefits paid to former employees. UInsure, which is paired with unemployment risk management services, offers employers potential savings in excess of 20% per year versus the tax associated with a state-run SUI program.

“This new program fills an unmet need in the admitted insurance marketplace and provides financial protection for our customers,” said Mike Sullivan, executive vice president of Great American Insurance Group. “UInsure is in line with our commitment to offer best-in-class insurance products. We are excited to expand our coverage set for 501(c)(3) nonprofit, public entity and tribally owned insureds.”

In addition to cost-effective insurance, every UInsure employer benefits from an extensive suite of risk management and loss-control services including unemployment claims management, hearing representation, access to an HR Hotline, certified training webinars and re-employment services for separated employees.

“For more than three decades, we’ve been helping nonprofits to save money through careful self-insurance programs,” said Darren Bowman, CEO of 501(c) Services. “Now we’re thrilled to be working with Great American to offer first dollar insurance options. We think UInsure is a great solution for risk-sensitive employers or those requiring budgetary certainty, particularly with the financial strength and security of Great American behind the program.”

About 501(c) Services
Based in San Jose, California, 501(c) Services has over three decades of experience in providing full-service alternatives to state-run unemployment insurance programs, and provides services to over 1,500 nonprofits nationally. It is the administrator of the 501(c) Agencies Trust, which offers a comprehensive suite of risk management services and multiple stop-loss protection solutions for its 501(c)(3) nonprofit members, now including customizable stop-loss insurance underwritten by Great American Insurance Company.

About Great American Insurance Group 
Great American Insurance Group’s roots go back to 1872 with the founding of its flagship company, Great American Insurance Company. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the operations of Great American Insurance Group are engaged primarily in property and casualty insurance, focusing on specialty commercial products for businesses, and in the sale of traditional fixed and fixed-indexed annuities in the retail, financial institutions and education markets. Great American Insurance Company has received an “A” (Excellent) or higher rating from the A.M. Best Company for more than 100 years (most recent rating evaluation of “A+” (Superior) affirmed August 11, 2017). The members of Great American Insurance Group are subsidiaries of American Financial Group, Inc. (AFG), also based in Cincinnati, Ohio. AFG’s common stock is listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFG.

UInsure insurance products are underwritten by Great American Insurance Company, an authorized insurer in all 50 states and DC. Coverage is not available in all states.

 

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SOURCE 501(c) Services