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Augusta public bus company MobilityTransit cancels employee health insurance

Health benefits canceled for public transit employees

Monday, May 7, 2012 8:52 PM
Last updated Tuesday, May 8, 2012 1:49 AM
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The troubled firm in charge of Augusta Public Transit canceled its employee health insurance last week.

Mobility Transit LLC canceled the policy with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia on Wednesday, Cheryl Monkhouse, spokeswoman for the insurance provider, said Monday.

Mobility General Man­ager Mike Rosson, former President and CEO Kevin Adams and new President and CEO Cullan Meathe could not be reached for comment.

It is the latest issue in Mobility’s brief tenure in Augusta since Augusta Commission voted last year to outsource management of the city bus service to the firm.

Most of its employees were former city bus system workers.

A scheduled Augusta public services committee meeting Monday at which Mobility was expected to get 90 days’ notice before termination of its contract was canceled because of lack of a quorum: Two members, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles and Commissioner Matt Aitken, were absent.

Since the firm took over the bus system last year, riders have complimented improved driver attitudes and more timely stops, but commissioners and the city administrator have pointed out Mobility’s failure to pay several of its financial obligations, including employee trainees, on time.

Meathe, who did not appear during contract negotiations, has a history of judgments and liens against several of his Florida transportation companies, including a 2011 judgment for $881,675 and a $250,513 judgment against his Palm Beach Transportation Group, according to court records.

City Administrator Fred Russell said he met with Meathe earlier Monday “to discuss several contractual concerns” and was “assured that (Mobility) would take steps to address these items,” but the insurance issue did not come up.

Commissioner absences also prevented any committee action Monday on a new contract with Automatic Data Processing, which is seeking to replace the city’s existing human resources and payroll functions.

The city’s finance committee, which had a quorum Monday, did agree to seek “an accounting of funds” spent by community housing development organizations from 2005 and 2006 city grant awards.

The engineering services committee agreed to implement a raw water rate for golf courses that will level disparities between the water rates of each but might require additional infrastructure.

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double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 05/07/12 - 09:14 pm
3
0
Transit operations do not

Transit operations do not make money they're nothing more than a service provided to the residence of a particular area. However when outside companies view the area for possible expansion they look at the transportation system and we frankly do not have one.

TrulyWorried
13544
Points
TrulyWorried 05/07/12 - 10:59 pm
4
0
Transit company

The commissioners did not know that this company had financial difficulties before they hired them? Like the parking garage they built on air - what else lingers in the dark??? What a sorry outfit.

seenitB4
85748
Points
seenitB4 05/08/12 - 07:21 am
2
0
Say what!

A history of judgments against them....what ....who is running this ship?

Little Lamb
45366
Points
Little Lamb 05/08/12 - 07:37 am
1
2
Who?

Who, my dear Seenit? Why, Commissioner Bill Lockett, of course. He is praised to the heavens because he asks the "hard questions." Of course, he asks those questions only after the malfeasance and ignorance is brought to light. He does not participate in the crafting of city government; only in the finger pointing after the fact.

Little Lamb
45366
Points
Little Lamb 05/08/12 - 07:40 am
1
2
Waivers

A big part of the new-age medical picture in this country is the notion that employers (private and government) can request waivers and exemptions from engaging in the purchase of private health insurance for their employees, and that the government will provide some kind of fall-back safety net for the employees. We are witnessing the fruit of Obamacare in this Mobility Transit Services cancellation of health insurance.

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 05/08/12 - 08:33 am
3
0
This is so wrong. Just think

This is so wrong. Just think of what this means to the people who formerly worked for the city. The city should reinstate their health insurance , pay the premiums and deduct it from anything that they owe Mobility. If they owe nothing to Mobility then the city should eat the loss.

double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 05/08/12 - 09:02 am
1
1
Blame Obama for mobility not

Blame Obama for mobility not paying their bills. Mobility bit off more than they could chew. Its one thing not to pay the vendor for the cleaning towels its another to not to pay GA Power.

Little Lamb
45366
Points
Little Lamb 05/08/12 - 10:00 am
0
2
Shut It Down

This would be a good opportunity for Augusta to shut down the public transit service and sell the buses to another city far away. Taxpayers would immediately reap a benefit because the operation and maintenance of the transit service is a million-dollar loss every year. That loss would immediately turn into a gain for taxpayers if we did not provide subsidized bus rides.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 05/08/12 - 10:57 am
0
0
I agree with Little Lamb's
Unpublished

I agree with Little Lamb's comment on the impact of obamacare. While its true the problem with Mobility paying their bills is not directly attributible to obamacare, its a harbinger of things to come. When the going gets tough for businesses employee healthcare will most likely find itself first on the chopping block. As the government plan phases in, marketplace costs will increase across the board, putting pressure on employers to justify the cost. Much easier to just toss them into obama's government pool, (which is what obama wants anyway)

Where are the commissioners on the loss of health insurance for the former city employees? Not that they have a liabilty, but you'd think they'd have something to say about it. How on earth did Mobility get the contract to begin with? Did Russell not do a due diligence on the company's background and credit history?

Where's Matt Aitken, Oh yeah...absent again. And this guy wants to be relected?

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