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Grundy County to create insurance subcommittee

Published: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 10:42 a.m. CDT

MORRIS – Grundy County will take a closer look at its insurance policies and plans through a new health insurance subcommittee formed this week.

The Grundy County Personnel Committee met Thursday night and discussed the creation of the subcommittee. Personnel members John Almer, Vicki Geiger and Ken Iverson will join Human Resources Director Debra Johnson in populating the new committee.

Grundy County had a health insurance committee years ago, but disbanded the group when the county stopped receiving all of its health insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield and became primarily self-insured, Almer said.

“I used to be the chairman of the insurance committee,” Almer said. “That committee ended in about 2004 or 2005.”

The insurance committee was combined with personnel at that time, putting an extra burden on the personnel committee members. Johnson felt the committee needed to spend more time on insurance and proposed the idea of the new subcommittee.

“Insurance is incredibly important to all of the county employees, as it is to everyone right now,” Geiger said. “When we come to the personnel meetings, we discuss so many other things, that we need to spend more time focusing on just insurance.”

With the Affordable Care Act and several other changes to health care in the last 10 years, Almer said he thinks the county’s insurance plans may need to be updated.

“We need to review everything we are doing in health insurance,” Almer said. “If you look at corporate America, for instance, they are really cutting back how they finance their insurance.”

The group has yet to determine how often the subcommittee will meet and exactly what issues it will address, but they will likely discuss those particulars at the next personnel meeting.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, Johnson proposed to do more thorough background checks on future employees. Aside from calling personal references, she said she will search a combination of 10 free databases to get an idea of the candidate’s personal history.

Johnson said she could tell if the potential employee is a registered sex offender, has written bad checks or was dismissed from any previous jobs for some kind of misconduct. She said sometimes pulling a person’s criminal record will not give the most complete picture of their history.

“It only takes me about 10 minutes to do and it’s completely free,” Johnson said during Thursday’s meeting. “Once [the employee] is here, they’re here, so I think it’s definitely worth the 10 minutes.”

The county is currently seeing some turnover in its workforce. The county could soon be hiring a new Internet technology manager, administrative assistant, maintenance supervisor and network technician if it does not decide to promote internal employees to fill the positions.

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