LACONIA — The Executive Committee of the Belknap County Convention Tuesday night approved the 2015 budget transfer of $87,482 from a Personnel Management Reserve Fund to pay for hiring an accounting manager for the finance department.
Belknap County Commissioners said that they need the money in order to fill the $65,000 a year accounting manager position, which was created to replace the finance director's position which was left vacant when Glen Waring resigned in February to take a position with a school district in southern New Hampshire.
Commissioners said they have already filled a $45,199 accountant position that was created to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the assistant finance director, which came shortly after Waring resigned.
Commissioners said they have also selected a candidate for the accounting manager position who is extremely well qualified with experience both within the court system and health and services and that they need the funds to hire that person.
Rep. Brian Gallagher (R-Sanbornton), said that he had worked with the commissioners in the interview process and was satisfied that they had chosen the right person.
The management reserve fund was created by cutting $100,000 from the Finance Department budget with the provision that the commission, with Executive Committee approval, could fill the position either by hiring or contracting for the services.
Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) said that three months of the finance director's $84,050 salary had already been paid this year and that because of the budget cut the Finance Department budget was close to being exhausted.
The new positions will cost a total of $110,199 in salary, compared to $144,287 under the previous arrangement.
The committee also approved a transfer of $1,750 to pay for overtime in the housekeeping department at the Belknap County Nursing Home. It was explained that the shortage of part-time staff resulted in the need to pay overtime for full-timers to cover shifts.
The $250 budget for overtime had been over-expended by over 600 percent according to Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton) because Nursing Home Administrator Mathew Logue believed that limits on transfers within departments mandated by a Belknap County Superior Court ruling were no longer in effect.
The committee heard from Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen on the subject of health insurance. She pointed out that the previous County Convention had required that elected department heads pay 15 percent of health insurance costs for family plans and 16.5 percent for individual plans.
She said that if she were allowed to shift her insurance to the site-of-service plan which is 100 percent funded by the county it would be less costly for the county, which contributes $8,468 to her higher priced plan and would only pay $8,000 for the site of service plan.
She said that her opting for a lower priced plan would be seen as a way of encouraging other county employees to utilize the same plan, lowering costs to the county and helping avoid the 40 percent "Cadillac tax" the county will face in 2018 for high cost insurance policies.
DeVoy said that the county faces a potential $150,000 tax liability in 2018 and said that every employee who enrolls in a site-of-service plane brings a $4,100 savings for the county.
After considerable discussion the Executive Committee took no vote on a change but members said they would not oppose a change to allow the elected department heads to switch to the site of service plan fully funded by the county if the commissioners approved.
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