Citizens For A Better Norwood

Monday, June 25, 2007

AOS and Norwood’s late health care reimbursements to retirees

Our source at the Auditor of State told us this morning they are aware of Channel 5’s broadcast last Monday regarding the City‘s late reimbursements to retirees (See 6/20/07 “City retirees claim Norwood is behind…” blog below.) but that state auditors don’t yet know the impact, if any, the delinquency will have on Norwood’s financial health or Fiscal Watch status. We were told years 2004 and 2005 are still in the “open audit” stage and that there is no known progress on or completion of the City Auditor’s late 2006 GAP report, which was due to the AOS 5/31/07. More information is expected to be available Friday, and if it is, we’ll do an update.

6/25/07, 2:00 p.m. UPDATE: Good news! Mike Allen, attorney for the City retirees, just returned our call and agreed to provide this update. He said that since last Monday’s Channel 5 broadcast, Norwood has paid everything due through the month of May. That leaves June’s reimbursements, which aren’t past due just yet. With the City’s quick attention to this matter, the retirees aren’t pursuing a meeting with City officials at this time. Mr. Allen complimented Finance Committee Chairperson Joe Sanker for taking on the cause by making sure funds were made available to make the payments. Law Director Rick Gibson also got some praise for letting it be known at City Hall that Norwood has a legal obligation to fulfill its contractual agreement with the retirees.

Mr. Allen’s experience with the media in his former role as Hamilton County Prosecutor tells him the Channel 5 broadcast had a lot to do with the quick, short term resolution of the retirees’ dilemma. He said ongoing monitoring is needed, however, so old patterns of delinquency don’t return after the “bright lights” of the media dim.