St. Joseph County commissioners veto $50,000 to investigate health and fitness … – South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — St. Joseph County commissioners are towards the County Council’s program to audit the billing practices of the county’s health and fitness insurance broker.

The Board of Commissioners voted 2-one on Tuesday to veto the $50,000 accepted by the County Council to execute the controversial program to audit R&R Benefits of South Bend, the county’s insurance broker given that 2013.

Opponents of the program have identified as it a squander of taxpayer revenue and a way to sidestep the authority of the Board of Commissioners — the county’s govt branch that is accountable for approving contracts for audits.

The County Council could determine to override the veto at its meeting on June thirteen. That would absolutely free up the revenue for the audit to transfer forward.

The council voted six-3 before this month to approve the program, with all a few Republican customers voting towards it: Jamie O’Brien, Mark Telloyan and Mark Root.

The program for the audit was hatched by County Auditor Mike Hamann, who has questioned the firm’s billing techniques and said he needs to assure the county is “receiving the finest bang for the buck.”

Hamann observed a lawful way for the County Council — the legislative and fiscal authority — to just take the direct: Very first employ the service of an lawyer. Then have the lawyer use county revenue to employ the service of a local enterprise to audit R&R.

South Bend lawyer James Masters would be employed for $125 for every hour to carry out the program by choosing a local organization to do the audit.

Republican Commissioner Andy Kostielney said throughout Tuesday’s meeting that paying revenue to investigate R&R is unwise. The effort and hard work comes as the county is now searching for a distinctive health and fitness insurance broker that could probably aid reduce expenditures from the county’s self-funded insurance program.

“I don’t have an understanding of why you would want to audit an entity that you may well no lengthier be likely with,” Kostielney said. “I imagine this is wasteful and silly paying of taxpayer dollars.”

Kostielney also believes the Board of Commissioners really should be in demand of planning audits — not the County Council.

Commissioners’ lawyer Jamie Woods questioned why the county really should devote up to $50,000 to audit R&R. He suggesting basically inquiring the organization for facts as a substitute.

“If we have a question about our qualified costs, why don’t we ask them about the costs and get to the bottom of this as a substitute of dallying around?” he said.

Commissioners agreed with that tactic. And so did Bob Frick, chief running officer for R&R.

“Asking us for the facts would seem like a much much better way than paying $50,000,” Frick said.

But Hamann still believes the County Council really should audit R&R fairly than only inquiring the organization for facts. He said council customers have questioned commissioners for facts about how much the organization is paid out, but they have not obtained responses.

“I imagine we really should have a qualified do a deep dive on this,” Hamann said.

Though Democratic Commissioner Dave Thomas voted towards the veto, it wasn’t due to the fact he is in favor of the audit, which he explained as “wasteful paying of revenue.”

Thomas voted towards it due to the fact he isn’t going to think commissioners have the authority to exclude individual line things from ordinances to be voted on. In this scenario, the $50,000 was excluded from an ordinance that included numerous other money things.

But Woods said that in his impression, commissioners have the authority to do so.