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home : latest news : local April 29, 2016

4/3/2013 6:00:00 AM
Mohave County to decide how to investigate insurance lapse

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - The Mohave County Board of Supervisors set a special meeting for Monday to discuss whether it should hire an outside investigator or use one of its own to get to the bottom of discrepancies in the county's life insurance policies.

County Human Resource Director Ray Osuna and County Finance Director John Timko brought the issue to the attention of the Board in March.

The Board of Supervisors is not in charge of employee benefits; a separate non-elected body called the Mohave County Employee Benefits Trust governs employee benefits. One supervisor is always chosen to sit on the trust's governing board. This year, that supervisor is Hildy Angius of District 2.

In March, Osuna said his office discovered a paperwork error showing that 18 employees had been charged for life insurance coverage but never received it. 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 county stopped the payroll deductions for the policies on July 20.

"I sat here and listened to this story and thought to myself, 'There's a piece missing here, there's something missing here, because it doesn't make any sense,'" Angius said.

Angius said several county employees told her the county was made aware of the situation in 2009.

The only reason employees didn't come forward with the information earlier was because they were afraid of losing their jobs, she said.

The county could have been sued if something had happened during those four years, Angius said.

Angius then called for a special meeting of the Board to be held on April 8 so the Board could hire an investigator.

District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson pointed out that the Board doesn't have jurisdiction over the employee benefit trust and may not be able to force an investigation of the situation. Besides, he noted, the county already has several investigators on staff.

Deputy County Civil Attorney Bill Ekstrom stated that since the investigation would be focused on what the county did to create the mistake, it was okay for the Board to use county funds to hire an outside investigator.

"I have a problem with the county paying for this. Shouldn't the trust pay for this investigation?" Johnson asked.

"It should be handled by the Board," said District 5 Supervisor Steven Moss.

Perhaps the Board of Supervisors should control the employee trust, he said. Angius said the trust board was already considering revising its bylaws to bring it under the control of the Board.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Article comment by: Have State Conduct Investigation

If the citizens are so suspicious that the county can't do a simple little internal investigation then the BOS should contact the state attorney general and request a state investigation of the situation.

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Article comment by: better be outside investigation

Are you kidding me? Why is this a question?.

Mohave County investigate itself. I dont think so as a taxpayer. I want my tax money spent on Outside investigators. Ive only been here 8 years and have known for 7 that Mohave County "doesnt" get into trouble with itself or from itself.

The incompetence of the original "oversight" costing untold damage to an untold number of employees for years is ample proof for me. There was alot of "asleep at the wheel" happening on more then one level of the county government.

No....NO...I dont think something as important as this life insurance snafu. That went unnoticed all this time should be corrected by those responsible to catch "problems".

Each case should be investigated separately to insure people recieve the benefits they earned.

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Article comment by: Not A Mohave County Employee ...

.....who fears losing their job if they brought forward the truth.
I mean, doesn't the County Of Mohave have QUALITY, ETHICAL, MORAL, ACCOUNTABLE managers and administrators how would never take retaliatory action against an employee for telling the truth. NOT !!!!!!

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