LACONIA — Members of the Belknap County Convention's Executive committee will meet this afternoon or Wednesday afternoon to take up a request from the Belknap County Commissioners to transfer $64,670 from several accounts in order for the county to be able to meet the payroll for the nursing home which must be paid by the end of the week.
Commissioners made the request at an emergency meeting held Monday afternoon at the Belknap County complex at which Belknap County Finance Director Glenn Waring said that the transfers were needed due to incorrect payroll projections.
''About 10 days ago we found that wages in some departments for the rest of the year are understated. We made a request for a meeting with the Executive Committee which has not yet been finalized. We've had no response from the committee and we're still trying to set something up.'' said Waring.
That prompted commissioners yesterday to call the Executive Committee's Vice Chairman Herb Vadney (R-Meredith), who is in charge of the committee due to absence of Rep. Frank Tilton (R-Laconia), the committee's chairman.
''Given the way they've looked at these in the past it shouldn't be a problem,'' said Commissioner Ed Philpot (D-Laconia), who said that the only alternative to the transfer is to send the nurses home for the rest of the week.
Commission Chairman John Thomas (R-Belmont) said the commission finds itself in a situation in which no matter what it does it will be wrong. ''If we pay the workers without getting Executive Committee approval, we violate the court order. But if we don't pay them the Department of Labor will be after us,'' he said.
He went on to say ''this is a perfect example of decisions made without any knowledge of how the county business operates'' and faulted the county convention for the temporary injunction it had obtained in Belknap County Superior Court which limits the authority of the commissioners to make transfers of greater than $300 between line items in the budget approved by the convention in March.
He also criticized the ruling issued by Judge James O'Neil III in the case.
''They're the ones who created this problem,'' said Thomas, who said that ''the convention wants all of the authority but none of the responsibility."
Commissioner Steve Nedeau (R-Meredith) said that the conversation with the Executive Committee about the need for the transfers started before Christmas. ''We've been trying to get a meeting for 10 days but Vadney hasn't called one,'' said Nedeau, who is resigning as commissioner effective January 1.
During the call to Vadney, which was heard by the commissioner on a speakerphone from Philpot's phone, Philpot explained that it was a major emergency and prompt action was needed to avoid overspending the budget or closing the nursing home.
Vadney at first wanted to advertise the meeting dates but was told by Philpot ads weren't necessary for an emergency meeting.
Vadney said that he would be in contact with other members of the committee and would schedule a meeting for either December 30 or December 31 at 2 p.m.
Commissioners are seeking transfers of $50,000 from full-time wages in the corrections department, $5,000 from the Sheriff's Department retirement, $1,200 from Finance Department retirement; $4,000 from full-time wages in the County ttorney's Office and $4,450 from part-time deputies in the Sheriff's Department for a total transfer of $64,760.
The bulk of the funds would go to full-time RNs, $18,129; full-time LNAs, $16,364; nursing overtime $6,541; Dietary wages $4,511; Nursing retirement $4,141 and Nursing payroll tax, $3,112.
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