Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Pension Board - Something Fishy About Spokane Retirement Director's Actions...

To: Greg Borg, President Local 29
From: Mike Rose, Clive Jones, and Doug Bacon, Firefighter Pension Board
Re: Leo Griffin, Retirement Director
March 2, 2006
Dear Greg,

 We wanted to inform you about several Pension Board issues that have unfolded in the brief tenure of Director of Retirement Leo Griffin.

Financially Leo has made decisions that are going to increase medical services costs significantly. He negotiated a contract with Premera for 2006 and had it approved by the Fire board, both firefighter members voting no, in Dec 2005. At the time he represented that we had a 30 day out if we wanted to switch provider networks. A proposal brought to the board in Oct 2005 by Benefax for services provided by A.W. Rehn would have saved $232,848 in Administrative costs for both Fire and Police boards over the Premera contract. Additionally the Premera contract has no customization to pay for claims outside of the contract. A.W. Rehn would have provided that service at no extra charge. It is unknown at this time what the additional cost will be. Someone from the city will now have to process and individually pay each of those claims. It was later uncovered that there are significant penalties for early termination of the Premera contract that Leo negotiated.. Leo also negotiated with Premera to file for Medicare Part D subsidy at a cost of $52,000 per year for both boards. Restat would have performed the same service for both boards for $3996.00 per year, a savings of over $48,000 per year. Not a misprint! These 2 items alone are going to cost $280,848 at least this year alone between both boards. Additionally there has been 1 Federal HIPPA complaint filed by a member. More may follow as the Retirement Department was sending confidential HIPPA protected information to Fire Department staff. The cost of federal fines may be substantial. We are very concerned on how well Leo will handle our multimillion dollar trust fund.

Professionally Leo has been very difficult to work with. In our Oct 2005 meeting 5 city attorneys came to our meeting presenting a legal opinion, with the T.V. media called in, that the boards must go thru an RFP process for the services provided by Benefax. This was done by Leo without board knowledge or approval. During the RFP process that ultimately went to Benefax former City Councilwoman Cherie Rodgers asked Leo if he would take a lie detector test at her expense, he declined. Councilwoman Rodgers also said in the committee that the way the RFP process was handled was so out of line with normal procedure that the city could be held liable. During the Dec. 2005 City Council meeting statements were made that prompted a vendor, that we have had an 18 year relationship with, to seek legal protection to defend his reputation. Mike Rose formally asked Leo on Feb. 6, 2006 to cease bringing resolutions to City Council without board knowledge or approval. The next week Feb. 13, 2006, Leo brought the Premera contract to pre-council meeting for approval. He did this with full knowledge that the contract for approval was on the March Fire board meeting agenda. There is such a cloud of secrecy surrounding Leo that both Fire and Police boards have sought access to emails by the freedom of information act. We have also contacted the Washington State Council of Firefighters who have pledged to spare no legal expense to protect our fund.

In the past 35 years that the Firefighters Pension Board has existed in the LEOFF 1 system there has never been such an atmosphere of mistrust between the Firefighters and a Director of Retirement. We believe that nothing short of Leo Griffin’s replacement will restore fiscal responsibility and professionally integrity to Director of Retirement’s office.  Sincerely
Mike Rose
Clive Jones
Doug Bacon

Sunday, October 15, 2006

FDNY Shirts and Hats

> Hello Everyone,
> I have some leftover "FDNY" hats and shirts that I am going to get rid
> of. The hats are the Navy ball caps with the FDNY on them and I also
> have many shirts in different sizes.
> If you would like to see them or pick one up, all I would ask is a
> small donation to the Benevolent fund and you can have your pick.
> The shirts would make great work shirts or play shirts for that matter
> and the hats are just that, hats.
> Get a hold of me and you can take a look.
> Thanks
> Gonzo
> 13's D