Thomas Hedge, president of HR Butler, stood at the podium during Liberty Township’s trustee meeting this week demanding to know the reason for the township changing health insurance brokers from his firm to Burnham and Flowers.
“Because I want too,” said Fiscal Officer Nancy Denutte.“I want somebody else.”
Before trustees tabled the resolution at the request of the the firefighters union Tuesday night, Trustee Shyra Eichhorn wanted to make sure only the brokers changed and nothing else. She was assured by Denutte that the plan was still with Anthem and only the broker would change.
Denutte said in an interview Thursday that the firefighters union and township were to meet over the changes next Tuesday.
“It didn’t make sense trustees tabled the resolution,” Denutte said because she had brought up wanting to change brokers at an earlier meeting. “Contrary to what (trustee) Tom Mitchell had said about it coming out of nowhere. In a trustee meeting a couple of weeks ago Mitchell said it was up to me in the meeting.”
Denutte she said she had been shopping around and found Burnham and Flowers in the Ohio Township Association magazine. “They aren’t lawyers, but they have a lot of lawyers they consult with,” she said. “Companies change vendors all the time. We were doing business with somebody else before (HR Butler).”
If the resolution is approved to change health insurance brokers, HR Butler will continue doing the payroll for the township, Denutte said. Finding someone to do both is somewhat unique.
“Not many companies do both,” she said. “We have a very complex payroll; it’s a special animal.”
Hedge told trustees he was upset that he had learned of the resolution being on the agenda the night before the trustees met.
“I didn’t get one email,” Hedge said. “I didn’t find out about this until I was told this was going to be on the agenda. I don’t think we’ve been treated respectfully here.”
Mitchell said, “I don’t know why anyone would do that. That’s disrespectful.”
Hedge wanted to know what happened in the relationship between HR Butler and the township. “What did we do? What were the service levels? I answered everything about the opt-out program. We didn’t get one email or phone call.”
Eichhorn brought the discussion to an end. “We’re not going to solve anything tonight,” she said.
Hedge could not be reached for further comment Thursday.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.