Firefighters OK insurance broker change

By D. Anthony Botkin -

Liberty Township has the green light from the local firefighter’s union to move forward with changing health insurance brokers from HR Butler to Burnham and Flowers. Union representatives met with the with the township officials and the new firm on Tuesday.

“It went very well and they were very receptive,” said Fiscal Officer Nancy Denutte. “I told them I’m moving forward and they said OK.”

“On our end it went very well,” said Scott Simmons, president of Firefighters IAFF Local 3754. “I told Nancy (Denutte) that we want to be a part of the solution.”

Simmons said the union has someone looking over everything, but at this point it looks good to move forward. “We wanted to make sure nothing changed in our contract,” he said.

Tuesday, Sept. 6, trustees tabled the resolution at the request of the firefighter’s union that would have made the change from HR Butler to Burnham and Flowers as the township’s health insurance brokers of record.

The resolution was was part of the agenda that caught Tom Hedge, president of HR Butler, off guard.

Hedge said he had learned of the resolution being on the agenda the night before the trustees met. Hedge is a Liberty Township resident.

Hedge said he believes the change from his firm as the township’s agent to Burnham and Flowers is “retaliation” for when he forward a confidential email from Denutte to the former fiscal officer Mark Gerber.

“I’m caught in the crossfire of what is going on,” Hedge said. “It has nothing to do with our service to the township.”

Hedge said the renewal date for the health insurance is April 1. “Why are they doing this in the middle of the year?” he said. “There’s going to be disruption.”

Hedge said when it comes to the township’s health reimbursement agreement, “We do all the work and it’s handled in a special way for the employees,” he said. “There is more involved than just insurance. The new agent isn’t bringing anything new to the table.”

Hedge said HR Butler also handles the township’s payroll which will not change. He also said given the circumstances for the change in the brokers, Denutte is looking into HR Butler’s other services.

“She has the right to give her opinion to the trustees,” Hedge said.

By D. Anthony Botkin

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.