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4/1/2013 6:00:00 AM
Supervisor favors probe of Mohave County insurance gaffe
Hildy Angius
Hildy Angius

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Mohave County Supervisor Hildy Angius wants to hire an independent investigator to look into a problem with the county's life insurance policies for employees.

A recent review of the county's insurance paperwork revealed that 14 employees had paid for life insurance but were never signed up for a policy, County Finance Director John Timko and Human Resource Manager Ray Osuna told the Board in mid-March. It could cost the county as much as $27,000 to resolve the problem.

"I still have questions about this," Angius said. "I think employees need to know how this happened, who was in charge when it happened, what will be done to fix it and how we will prevent it from happening again.

"This could have been a huge liability for the county. I think this should be thoroughly investigated."

A memo provided to the Board by Acting County Administrator Mike Hendrix raises additional concerns.

The memo states that there were originally 18 employees who were paying for the insurance but not enrolled in the policy. Three of those employees left the county before the mistake was found.

Officials also found that the county was still being charged for five employees who had been terminated.

The memo explains that errors were made when an employee changed age brackets. Life insurance is based on the age of the individual purchasing it.

The combination of employees being overcharged for a policy they weren't getting and the county being billed for employees who no longer worked there amounted to a difference of about 50 cents, which is why the department didn't immediately notice the difference, Hendrix stated in the memo.

Hendrix also stated that the county stopped payroll deductions for the policies on July 20, 2012.

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Related Stories:
• No crime found in probe of Mohave County life insurance mistake
• Mohave supervisors to decide if life insurance goof worth an investigation
• Insurance goof will cost Mohave County

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Article comment by: just one voice

There should be an investigation, but not from inside the henhouse. Don't make it easy to find "mutual absolution". It should be conducted by someone, not necessarily a company, who understands both the benefits process and the insurance side of the issue. Neither the Supervisors nor the County HR Manager (who supervises the benefits position) should be members of any investigation, as their level of subject matter expertise is not high enough. For complete objectivity, don't forget to look at any previous employees who were involved in the administration of benefits. They are not above scrutiny. Then, after all is said and done, implement a serious process (not lipservice) that keeps this from happening again.

Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Article comment by: MsCEO Smith

Kudos to Hildy and Steve's post!! People dont you want to know if these idividuals are still working here? Lets hope not!

Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Moss

The investigation will not cost $27,000. That's the estimate as to the potential cost to correct the problem. As the employees have multiple options, that cost may or may not be accurate.

Hildy did not request an outside investigator. She requested an investigator. Whether the investigator is outside or inside will be determined at Monday's special meeting.

There are many different reasons for the investigation. The BOS has received conflicting reports on the pertinent issues. For example, some say we became aware in 2012. Others say 2009. One group or the other of county employees is wrong.

Second, even if our records were wrong why didn't the insurance company catch it? Currently I'm hearing about "banding". In other words, the employees got older, so cost more and the insurance company thought the additional payment (the premium from the employees who weren't being provided insurance) was to cover the increased cost. But this only makes sense if it correlated dollar to dollar. Otherwise it should have noted a shortfall or overpayment.

So an investigator is necessary to answer these questions, and others, as something does not add up.

Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013
Article comment by: Hildy Angius

There will be an investigation. I am confused. You guys don't want to know what happened? And for the guy who threw out the $27,000 number. That's not the amount of any investigation, that's the amount the County had to pay to make up for their mistake. We are having a special meeting next week to decide who will do the investigation. Whoever it is, we will get to the bottom of all of this. I can't imagine why anyone would not want to find out how this happened, why it happened and how we can make sure it doesn't happen again. I believe that's my job.

Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013
Article comment by: Let's Not Stop at Hiring That There Fancy Investigator

Since this apparently came to the county's administration attention in July or earlier while under the leadership of everyone's favorite overpaid manager called Walker, perhaps the board could ask the county attorney's office to rule on the possibility of suing Mr. Walker. Perhaps all these costs associated with this fiasco could be a wash if a sizable judgement is reached in favor of the county against Mr. Walker failing to adequately perform the duties of his contract. But knowing the county we would need to hire an outside lawyer to determine if such an action could take place.

Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013
Article comment by: No To Outside Company

I'm so tired of every one of these local government entities shirking their duties by hiring an "outside company". We need to develop a transportation plan - hire a fancy company. We have a problem with an employee - hire an outside attorney. Someone in our county didn't do their job when processing these insurance papers - hire an outside company. We need to do a national search for a new city/county manager – hire a company.

Hildy, put together a committee of 2 supervisors, the HR dept head, a county employee and one or two private citizens willing to donate their time. All but the citizens' and the supervisors' times would be paid. (Supervisors times are paid for but not in addition to their stipend.) This committee would need to go back on all the documents involving the omissions. Then answer the question - what rules, procedures, safeguards are necessary to add to our standard operating procedures to make certain this never happens again. The secondary issue this committee needs to address is who screwed up. Someone signed off on these documents or someone failed to send the correct documents to the insurance company, - there's a someone in some position responsible for not doing their job correctly. The committee needs to determine if there was an honest mistake or an accident (the form fell behind the copy machine, whatever). If it is determined employee neglect in performing his/her assigned duty, they they need to be disciplined according to the procedures in the employee handbook. So there Hildy, DO NOT COST THE GOOD CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTY ADDITIONAL FUNDS BY HIRING ANY OUTSIDE COMPANY.

Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013
Article comment by: Typical County Response to anything

The county knew about the problem in July of 2012. They didn't do ANYTHING until now? Why? These employee's werent made aware of the problem until WHEN? The county employee's have been disgusted with our representation by county HR for some time now with regards to benefits becuase they keep getting more and more financial hits for benefits because the county decided quite a few years ago to be 'self funded' instead of going with the various cities pool of insurance that would have given us a much better insurance package and instead of giving the county employee's a decent insurance package, they are getting raped every year for less benefits and more costs so that the county can 'save' more money for themselves while county employee's pay more and more in deductibles and co-payments, all without a raise in the last 5 years!

Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013
Article comment by: Pollen City State or Feds

Something that has been bouncing around for years is who is responsible for the planting and upkeep of the "Male Fruitless White Mulberry Trees" in front of the senior citizens center? RIGHT NOW those trees are flooding that area with dangerous pollen while people go in and out with oxygen tanks with respiratory issues. People there say they can't do anything, and that story keeps on bouncing back n forth -city-county-state, meanwhile those trees are killing people, of course most of the seniors are most likely Republicans , and that makes it ok, wait how's that go again???
Really scary thing is reports from Vegas where they have been trying to remove the trees, and they spread after breakup, possible rooting effect like starting cuttings, But that city ran out of cash for the removal project, and the issues gets bigger, while we haven't even looked at the issue all over Kingman. People can keep saying it's the other guys fault, but if city, county, or state gets sued, the citizens will pay no matter what.

Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

@Fed Up

You aren't reading it right. The $27K number was provided by staff. I'm thinking that was to either refund payments taken out of checks or to re-instate the policies, or possibly both? Nowhere did it say that how much the investigation would cost.

Until a total internal investigation is complete...I don't think hiring someone to do it is appropriate. If the internal results are not satisfactory..then I support an outside source.

Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013
Article comment by: Fed Up

Just like Hildi to want the county to spend $27,000 to investigate a 50 cent discrepancy. Granted, there shouldn't be any discrepancy, but a $27,000 investigation? Get real! Also so proud of our Board of Supervisors today. Didn't Hildi listen to anything that was brought up regarding weapons control? Administration Building employees allowed to carry weapons, but no other employees? And for Moss to suggest such an idiotic motion. Admin. Building Only? Makes all other county employees feel like second class citizens! Gee, next time we have a lock down in one of the other county buildings, we'll just send the would be shooters over to Admin.!

Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013
Article comment by: justanobody sr

and just where does the $$$ come from for this ??
come on, investigate it your self, or have someone on the county payroll do it.( and if they're corrupt, fire em!)
I am glad to see she's not afraid to speak up!

Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013
Article comment by: Al DiCicco

Hildy is doing a great job! Keep it going! Fresh air in the county is nice!

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