County mulls insurance changes

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 31, 2003

Not so fast. The Lawrence County Commission yesterday agreed to ask for the county prosecutor's opinion on whether changing the agent of record on its health insurance could result in legal action.

Rick McNelly, Chief Executive Officer of McNelly Patrick and Associates, attended yesterday's county commission meeting and asked the board to reconsider the move it made two weeks ago to take the county's business out of his hands and give it to Ironton businessman David Brown, of the Brown Raybourn Agency of Ashland, Ky.

"Do you feel we did a good job?" McNelly asked the commission. "We try to act with integrity, and be above-board. It was a bid situation. Bids were opened and it was a legal bid. That's what concerns me. How are you ever going to have anyone else bid if you do this? We're asking you to rescind this, or we will have to see what our options are. If it's a legal bid, it's a legal bid."

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"The bid was awarded to Medical Mutual," Commission President George Patterson said.

"No, the bid was awarded to McNelly Patrick and Medical Mutual," Commissioner Jason Stephens said. Stephens expressed the same sentiment about what might happen next year when the county's insurance is put up for bid. "I'm concerned about the long-term impact of this."

"I'm not worried about any threats of legal action," Patterson said. "I'm not planning to debate this, this is not the place for debate."


said that while Brown is a Lawrence County native, McNelly Patrick and Associates, a Jackson firm, does pump money into the local economy. Four people are employed to handle the county's business and two senior agency staff members are Lawrence Countians.

Two weeks ago when Patterson and Commissioner Doug Malone decided to change the agent of record, Brown's familiarity with local needs and his residence were mentioned.

Also yesterday, the commission and new EMA/911 Director Don Mootz decided to wait a week before making staffing changes in the newly recombined office. Mootz and the commission met behind closed doors for approximately 45 minutes. Mootz said afterward he would not recommend any charges until he had gathered more information.

"Details need to be worked out," Mootz said. "There more information I need to assemble."