2009-12-05 / Editorials & Letters

Bowling Green ‘Watchdog’ still sniffing around health insurance


At the September trustees’ meeting we heard about a formal reply from the county prosecutor”s office regarding the GOB Trustee Watkin’s health insurance reimbursement scenario I had written about some months back. If you recall, Watkins made a motion to RESCIND the old resolution that allowed a trustee to get a $200 a month REIMBURSEMENT if they were NOT on the township’s health insurance policy. By law you cannot get BOTH, but we all know that was indeed what happened from October 2005 until Trustee Jeff Chorpenning got the practice stopped earlier this year.

As I had noted, the next shoe was ready to drop, since Watkins said he was going to DROP OFF the township’s health insurance and then wanted to get REIMBURSED for the AVERAGE of the amount paid for those on the plan. Now why would he do this? Obviously, this would allow him to get over $1,000 a month, instead of the old $200 a month reimbursement. Interestingly, he did not ask for this a few years back when we were paying out about $1,600 A MONTH for him and his wife’s health insurance, PLUS he was getting an additional $90+ REIMBURSEMENT check to boot. But hey, “he is trying to save the township money you know!”

Chorpenning asked for a legal opinion from the county prosecutor’s office and they responded that this sort of action is an “in term” increase which is prohibited. Thus Watkins is back to the original $200 a month that was in place when he began HIS CURRENT TERM in office. Now Watkins is NOT dropping off the insurance, since he knows he can only get $200 a month. But how neat is that, he and his GOB buddy have made it so that anyone else coming in can now get this increased perk!

Let’s discuss IN-TERM increases in compensation which have already been done! It seems to me then that the first October 2005 Watkins reimbursement check (which never even came officially to a public board meeting) and the addition of vision care (motion made by GOB VanBuren) would have both also been IN-TERM increases. Would these have been legal? My thought is that we did not have a watchdog in office, since Chorpenning was not in office until AFTER this all went down.
Will (Watchdog) Kern
Bowling Green Township

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