Reversing course? Why one lawmaker says other Seven Counties Contracts could move forward

07/24/2014 04:36 PM

New talks between lawmakers and Seven Counties Services could providing the space to come up with a solution to the worries of the retirement system and the liabilities of Seven Counties.

Rep. Brad Montell, R-Shelbyville, is a member of two committees which have been dealing with the Kentucky Retirement Systems and Seven Counties Services, who does business with the state and is attempting to leave the pension system.

“I had a very good meeting with some representatives from Seven Counties…and I’m very optimistic that we’re going to be able to come to agreements that will satisfy the committee,” Montell said adding that he’s more inclined to let future contracts proceed.

Seven Counties Services was granted leave from the pension system through bankruptcy proceedings as their portion of the pension payments grew to nearly 40 percent of payroll. Lawmakers and the retirement system are worried about the signal it sends to other mental health agencies — that you can leave the system and your obligations behind.

In the case of Seven Counties, they leave $90 million in liabilities with the retirement system which will cause others in the system to pay an extra 2.5 percent.

But there might be movement on the issue of the liabilities with Seven Counties.

“The chief issue is the liability,” Montell said. “As long as we’re working through that and at this point the courts are involved and there are certain things we can’t do right now.”

Earlier in the month, the Government Contract Review Committee did not approve a $3.7 million 2-year contract with Seven Counties Services to provide in-home family services to 300 families through the Health Cabinet’s Department of Community Based Services.

The Finance Cabinet approved the decision and gave Seven Counties 100 days to transfer services to another provider.

Lawmakers at the time said the move was meant to send a signal to Seven Counties, but Montell says it was not a message of retribution.

“It’s not retribution, it’s simply saying if we can’t negotiate some sort of agreeable settlement with this then we can’t allow business as usual,” Montell said.

The contract the state transferred with Seven Counties is to provide intensive in home and family services to 300 families which are designed to keep families together and preserve home placements for children who are in crisis

And Montell says the reaction has not been positive.

“I’ve heard from a number of them and they’re not happy. But, what I would like to say to them is we have 100 days to transition. The services will not be cut off. At the end of that 100 day period we will have another provider ready to take up that,” Montell said.

Montell added that its possible the same employees now working for Seven Counties could even be given those contracts, something he said is a “chief concern” of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.