Seven Counties should come to the table to negotiate details of "divorce" from the state, Rep. Yonts says

08/05/2014 05:35 PM

As officials continue to consider what comes next in the Seven Counties pension saga, a state legislator close to the issue believes there is a path forward to help both the mental health agency and the state pay for the debt as long as the group comes to the table to talk with lawmakers.

Representative Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, said he has been speaking with some Seven Counties officials and would like for agency to come to the table to sort out the details of their departure from the system.

“In a simplistic but legalistic system, we have had a divorce,” Yonts said. “The state has been left with the debt and they are wanting alimony in the form of contracts from the system.”

Yonts said he has suggested to Seven Counties Services officials that they follow a KRS statute that would allow the secretary to remove the board, replace the director and make personnel changes.

As for what comes next for the state and the agency, Yonts said that he would like to see Seven Counties come to the table for discussions—which he says he believes will happen.

After talks with the agency, Yonts would like to see legislative action taken on a bill proposed by Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, but in a different form. Yonts says the legislation had a remedy but wanted to let the agency out only if they paid their debt.

“Well, they are getting out because they can’t pay their debt,” Yonts said. “But if they can provide some for-sure security, a payment plan, security in structures they may own, security in income streams they may have, whatever it might be then yes I think there can be a resolution.”

One of the architects of Senate Bill 2, the pension system fix that passed in the 2013 session, is still involved in making sure the pension system gets back on track.

Former state Rep. Mike Cherry, D-Princeton, now serves as a KRS board member and told Pure Politics he believes the pension system should be fine because of the changes made in the legislation passed two years ago.

Cherry also said that he would be open to proposals embraced by some officials to put costs, spending, investment breakdowns and investment fees for the KRS online as a measure of transparency.

“It is something that we continually work at and I think a lot of people are on board,” Cherry said. “Its not a simple issue but it is an issue that I believe there is room to do better on.”

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.


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