SEOEMS bills will get paid

Published 11:23 am Friday, August 21, 2015

At least two of the bills owed by the now defunct Southeastern Ohio Emergency Medical Services will get paid now that all counties have agreed.

At Thursday’s meeting Lawrence County Commissioners agreed to pay the state auditor for past SEOEMS audits and make a partial payment to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System for its employees.

For decades SEOEMS provided emergency service to Lawrence, Jackson and Athens counties until it was disbanded in 2010. Since then the three counties have tried, and failed, to distribute SEOEMS assets ending up filing lawsuits against each other.

“There is $97,000 already in the (SEOEMS) account when it was closed,” Lawrence County Commission President Les Boggs said. “There are outstanding bills due and some collect interest and penalties. If we have the money, go ahead and pay them.”

Out of that money in escrow up to $9,961.78 will go to pay the Auditor of State and up to $45,167.19 for the OPERS.

Other bills include $41,000 for unemployment plus $30,000 in penalties and an undetermined amount for workers’ comp.

Columbus attorney Steven Carlino was authorized to meet with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and the state department of job and family services to negotiate what would be required to meet that bill.

Authorizing payment was done through a resolution passed on Thursday by the county commission. Athens and Jackson also approved identical resolutions.

“The resolution was to pay a couple of those bills and then they would continue to see how much money is owed out there,” Boggs said. “There was some discrepancy on the workers’ comp.”

When the final bills are totaled, then Jackson and Athens commissioners will decide if they would add any funds to the escrow account.

“If we make money off of it, it is a good chance we will take the deal,” Boggs said.

In other action the commissioners:

• Hired the following for income maintenance jobs at the department of job and family services: Leigh Ann Elliott, Maggie Patterson and Kristi Hayes. These hirings were made upon the recommendation of DJFS director Terry Porter. Commissioner Freddie Hayes Jr. abstained in the vote as Kristi Hayes is a relative by marriage;

• Hired Matthew Conley, part-time paramedic for the county EMS;

• Approved reimbursing Chesapeake schools $3,000 for paying the electric bill at the eastern end senior center.