Lancaster County Workforce Development Board
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Liberty Place, Room 112
Present: Executive Committee: James Black, Gary Grube, Don Johnson, Jean Martin , Robert Rhoads , Jill Welch
Board Members: Keith Baker, Thomas Cislo (by phone), Sharon Kay (by phone)
Not Present: Tom Baldrige, Linda Kreider
Staff: Valerie Hatfield, Anna Ramos, Cathy Rychalsky, Hope Schmids, Nancy Sharp
Visitors: Steve Tredinnick, Mary Ann Kowalonek, Service Access and Management (SAM) (by phone); Willie Thompson, Tammy Garza
Jill Welch, chair, called the meeting to order at 7:34 a.m.
Jill said the meeting was called bring the committee up to speed on the status of the state findings from a monitoring visit last fall.
Last week Cathy met with a counsel who is solicitor for other workforce development boards (WDBs). The counsel suggested ratifying in a public session the resignation and severance package that had come about through discussions of Executive Committee in executive session that took place last January and February 2015.
Gary Grube asked if the solicitor offered an opinion why our plan was not accepted while others have been. Cathy said he has worked with a number of WDBs and seen similar severance packages; he did not understand why ours was not accepted.
Jim Black moved to ratify and approve the acceptance of Scott Sheely’s resignation and severance package; motion was seconded by Bob Rhoads. Tom Baldrige had provided his proxy in favor of the motion; the motion was approved unanimously.
Findings from state’s fiscal monitoring
The corrective action plan was presented at the last Executive Committee. The Dept. of Labor and Industry has accepted all of the corrective action plan submissions, with contingency that the amount that was disallowed for first two findings (fringe benefits and paid time off) be repaid to the department.
Commissioner Stuckey, Jill and Cathy met with state in an informal discussion. The State was unwilling to negotiate.
We have opened a claim with D&O insurance. The carrier didn’t view it as a claim in the traditional sense. Jill believes it does and plans to continue the conversation with our broker, who is not available until Thursday.
One suggestion as a possible source was to use approximately $70,000 listed on our balance sheet as unrestricted net assets. We believe that funds may have been from program funds transferred when the agency moved from under the umbrella of the county to an independent organization. We are interested in pursuing discussions with the state about whether they would accept these funds as a source of the repayment.
County commissioners have been receiving documents from state. What has been communicated to us is that majority of the county commissioners do not want to assume responsibility to pay that amount; repayment by the county would place the burden on taxpayers. Discussion would need to be conducted at one of their weekly public work meetings.
Bob Rhoads asked if we ever generated that amount of unrestricted funds in the course one year. If we were to access line of credit, would we have funds to pay it back?
Jim Black asked how our not paying this back is affecting our ability to draw funds. Cathy said she heard from Dave Bohanick at L&I on Friday that the state would start to restrict our ability to draw funds. Jill said the finance committee will need to discuss the implications. The State did issue a follow-up letter to the Board which was vague on this item.
Hiring Legal Counsel
The cost of hiring of legal counsel to appeal the state findings is not an allowable cost. The cost of hiring counsel for other services is typically an allowable expense, as confirmed by Steve Tredinnick. Bob Rhoads asked what we anticipate paying; Jill said the rate is $225 per hour. Steve said the board could hire a solicitor on a short-term basis while it pursues such services through the RFP process.
Bob Rhoads moved to approve hiring a solicitor for a day-day period, at rate of $225, as needed based on chair and interim director’s discussions. Motion was seconded by Jim Black and approved unanimously.
Gary asked if this will impact Lancaster’s remaining separate a WDA. Jill said it is difficult to know.
Gary asked how we are going to pay for the solicitor for this issue. Do we have reason to believe the commissioners would be willing to pay? Cathy reached out to the county to see if they are willing to retain him, as correspondence requesting repayment has been directed to the commissioners. Cathy said she knows Commissioner Stuckey has been in touch with him, but she does not know the outcome of those conversations. Bob asked if the insurance policy would cover the solicitor’s fee if the claim is approved; Jill said yes.
Hope Schmids asked how soon we think this will affect our ability to serve customers and pay staff. Jill said we should know more within a week, after talking with our insurance carrier. Restricting services is a last resort.
Cathy said one option might be for county to pay and for us to set up repayment plan with county.
Jill said she hopes the department will work with us and have discussions the way the way they have with other WDBs.
Jill mentioned that the draft of the transitional local plan has been posted for public comment; comments will be accepted through May 15. Cathy said we will share our regional plan when it is made available from Kevin Perkey of the South Central WDB.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:25 am.