Findlay Council appeared ready at its regular meeting Tuesday to step out of the power struggle between Mayor Lydia Mihalik and Auditor Jim Staschiak over the citys management of workers compensation.
Councilwoman Holly Frische, R-1, wanted councils Appropriations Committee to gather more information about the two companies vying for city business, but committee members didnt agree.
Frische also asked that a letter from CompManagement Health Systems, Dublin, the citys longtime third-party administrator for the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, be read into the record. In the letter, company Vice President Mark MaGinn touted his companys service record with the city and criticized its competitor.
We feel the institutional knowledge gained through our long partnership has been a tremendous asset to both organizations and contributed significantly to the success of your workers compensation program, MaGinn said. …We understand the financial pressure public entities face and do not want you to make a decision that could cost your municipality thousands of additional dollars.
Staschiak favors CompManagement, due to its favorable history with the city.
On Tuesday he repeatedly pressed the committee chairman, Councilman Grant Russel, R-At-Large, to decide whether the Appropriations Committee would hold meetings to screen proposals by the two companies. Staschiak said he needed to know to determine whether to schedule meetings on the issue with the mayors office.
But Councilman Tom Shindledecker, R-At-Large, said there was no need for the committee to take up the issue, since the decisions are going to be made by that side of the aisle, pointing toward administrators.
Shindledecker serves on the Appropriations Committee with Russel and council members John Harrington, R-5, Dina Ostrander, R-3, and Jeff Wobser, R-At-Large.
On Tuesday, Wobser questioned whether Mihalik and Staschiak had already met on the issue, and if any progress was made.
As one elected official to two other elected officials, get this done, Wobser said.
At least part of the decision has already been made by Mihalik.
Staschiak was authorized by council at its April 17 meeting to enter into a group plan contract with the Ohio Municipal League, a nonprofit group based in Columbus which serves the interests of municipalities.
The league currently contracts with CompManagement as its third-party administrator for workers compensation, but announced in late May that it was switching providers and would instead contract with CareWorksComp, a newly-formed company, also based in Dublin. The change becomes effective Jan. 1.
By that time, Staschiak had already contracted with CompManagement and paid a $6,000 fee.
Mihalik then overrode Staschiaks decision with the Bureau of Workers Compensation and went with the leagues new choice.
With the deadline to declare providers now past, CareWorksComp will remain the citys provider until the next enrollment opening in two years.
Law Director Don Rasmussen has said the mayor, acting as the citys contracting officer, had the authority to make the change.
On Tuesday, Mihalik said her administration doesnt receive the communications it wants from CompManagement or the auditors office. And, she said much of the success being claimed by CompManagement, including the lower rates, is based on the citys own culture of safety.
She also questioned the accuracy of other statements made by MaGinn in the letter.
Mihalik also wants to transfer some of the citys workers compensation duties from the auditors office to the citys human resources department, but that would require the cooperation of the auditors office.