Three of us met Tuesday (11/28) with Ms. Kim Fraser, Executive Director, and Mr. Dave Hackman, lawyer with Prosecutor’s Office representing the ADAMHS Board.
Although Mr. Hackman said that the answers to our questions where not necessarily meant to be disclosed publicly, Ms. Fraser graciously agreed to meet with us to discuss our letter dated November 13, 2017, where we asked questions based on the financial information that was provided to us by the ADAMHS Board.
Here is a copy of the letter we sent to them:
Letter to ADAMHS Board 11-13-17
We started by explaining to Ms. Fraser our concerns regarding the ever increasing real estate taxes in Lake County, and the real possibility of pricing seniors and those living on fixed incomes out of their homes that they have worked all their lives to achieve. Our goal is to ensure that all political sub-divisions and agencies that receive taxpayer funding are being good stewards of taxpayers’ funds given to them.
#1. Ms. Fraser stated that their payroll expense is 7% of their revenue and is better than the other 53 ADAMHS Board in the State of Ohio. (Comment: We have no way of verifying the accuracy of that number since we do not have access to any financial information of the other ADAMHS Boards. We have tried to solicit help from State Senator Ron Young, but, to date, he has not shown any interest in our mission)
#2. Many of the social agencies rely on federal and state Medicaid funding. Some of the 19 agencies receive funding directly from Medicaid; in addition, the ADAMHS Board provides funding from the Lake County real estate tax levy and some reimbursement of Medicaid related expenses that are passed through to the agencies.
#3 We stated that we had no interest in disclosing specific names with salaries and benefits, but we wanted to ensure that the Board was not “top heavy” with executive salaries. The only number that we were given was that there are 10 employees on the Board’s payroll. Ms. Fraser did say that there were 27 payroll periods in FY 2017 that inflated the numbers.
The $966,099 for 27 pays equals ~ $930,000 for 26 payroll periods in the year. That means that “on average” each employee at the ADAMHS Board earns $93,000 per year in salary, pension and benefits. (Comment: We will leave it to the citizens to determine the appropriateness of that amount)
#4. The Tax settlement deduction of $106,333 is a State mandated amount (per Mr. Hackman), and includes items, such as, payments to the Board of Elections. (Comment: We do know that there is a chargeback by the Board of Elections for putting a levy on the ballot, but we were not impressed by the vague answer. We are much more comfortable with specifics and not generalities.)
The $731,342 in the Capital Account were payments made to the various agencies for purchase of fixed assets for the agencies use. (Comment: Again the answer was rather vague, and not specific enough for our comfort level.)
#5 & #6. All payments made by the ADAMHS Board to the agencies are supposed to stay in Lake County for the benefit of only Lake County residents. However, the ADAMHS Board and their agencies are not required to ask for the legal status of the individual receiving service. The ONLY requirement is that the individual produce identification that shows that they live in Lake County. (Comment: That means that an individual that is an illegal alien can receive any service from any of the ADAMHS Board agencies.)
The ADAMHS Board will provide translators for any individual that does not speak English that requires services from any of the agencies. (Comment: We will be asking the Catholic Charities what they are doing with the funds received from the ADAMHS Board. This is unacceptable, a “non-starter” a “showstopper” for us)
#7 Ms. Fraser believes that the Board performs the necessary financial audits each year of each agency. They receive projections of revenue and expenses from each agency. They are also on guard for any possible consolidations of agencies that they believe are overlapping in services where a merger of the agencies could results in administrative cost savings. (Comment: the Board does not receive the annual Form 990, so it is difficult to understand how they are doing the necessary due diligence. We would have to see what they are reviewing to elevate our comfort level on their finances. We mentioned the profitability of the Lake-Geauga Recovery Centers, but got no reaction from Ms. Fraser)
#8. The rates charged by the agencies are the rates mandated by the state Medicaid reimbursement rates.
#9. We were not given specifics on the new $700,000 request to the Commissioners. We were told it is not for refurbishing their corporate offices, but rather to meet requests from their agencies to purchase office equipment, etc. (Comment: I would hope that the Commissioners want absolute specifics on the need for $700,000)
Overall Comments: The review of the financial statements and statistics do not necessarily provide an indication of the quality of services, and the required caring attitude toward our citizens in the community. However, we hope that the Commissioners take the time to review the financial details of each agency, and require specific details on how the tax dollars are to be spent. Some of the agencies have grown to very profitable ventures with very strong balance sheets.