By: Rebecca Miller
Following the regular session held at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 7, 2020, Williams County Commissioners entered an Executive Session at 9:30 to consider the discipline of a public employee or official, asking Sheriff Gary Mohre to participate in the session. Following the session, there was no action taken.
- Resolution 156 – Supplemental Appropriations on behalf of Williams County Department of Aging in the amount of $3,807.22; Dog Pound for $425 and $200; Treasurer for $1107.60
- Resolution 157 – Accepting and Awarding bid in regards to Project #1-2020 to Gerken Paving
- Resolution 158 – Entering into multiple HIPPA COVID 19 Memorandum of Understanding (MOP) that would allow the Williams County Health Department to release a list of individuals who have tested positive for COVID 19 or whom WCHD ordered to quarantine for the purpose of minimizing the threat of imminent exposure to first responders. Said MOU’s shall remain in effect for the duration of COVID 19 State of Emergency for the State of Ohio. MOUs are between WCHD, Williams County 911/EMA; Williams County Commissioners, the Bryan Police Dispatch and the following: Alvordton Millcreek Township Fire Dept., Blakeslee Police Dept., Brady Township Fire Dept., City of Bryan Fire Dept., City of Bryan Police;Fire Dispatch, Edgerton Fire Dept., Edgerton Police Dept., Edon Police Dept., Florence Township Fire Dept., Madison Township Kunkle Fire Dept., Montpelier Fire Dept., Northwest Fire and Rescue, Pioneer Fire Dept., Pioneer Police Dept., Springfield Township-Stryker Village Volunteer Fire Dept., Stryker Police Dpt., West Unity Police Dept., Williams County EMS and Williams County Sheriff.
- Resolution 159 – in the matter of 2020 Budgetary Reductions under ORC 124.321 and 124.394 to implement a modified work week schedule program
- Also Signed: Monthly Expenditures for Credit Cards for the month of March, 2020 on behalf of the Williams County Prosecutor; Request to Carryover vacation for J. Yahraus (JFS); Project #1-2020 Notice of Award; Monthly report of all dongs seized, impounded, surrendered, redeemed and destroyed for month ending April 30, 2020; Dog Warden Report for the week of 4/27/20-5/3/20; Special Hauling Permit #20-012 and 20-013; Letter to Ohio Department of transportation regarding Project #1-2020; Project #4-2020 Notice to proceed and agreement between Owner and Contractor; Veteran Service 2021 proposed budget; and Judge Bird’s 2019 Annual Report.
- Minutes for April 30, 2020 and Pay bills as submitted by clerk
At 10:00, Commissioners heard from Dan Clum from the WC Engineers Office for Bid Opening on Project 5-2020, County Road J and Spot Paving. Clum explained that this project has zero outside funding, has an estimated $49,400 that is attributed to Center Township and the rest of it is gas tax funds. Bids were opened for Gerken Paving in Napoleon, Ohio with
Bid Bond from Ohio Farmers’ insurance company. The total bid was $1,251,935.59 with the prior estimate being $1,428,344.00 Of that $1,251,000, $38,191 is attributed to Center Township. Commissioner Lew Hilkert asked Clum to get that reviewed and posted and to get the information back to them so they can approve it.
At 10:30, Mary Beth Vermillion met with the Commissioners “in regards to some information she” wanted to discuss. Vermillion had sent them a timeline to fill them in on “what has transpired with my dealing with the Veterans Service Office,” she said. Hilkert stated that they had been able to review her timeline so she continued.
She shared that after her husband’s suicide on February 3, 2020, she was informed by the Veteran Services Office that there no program to help with burial costs of Veterans who had no life insurance. She proceeded with details of how she was treated rudely and with unkindness and a great lack of understanding by one of the staff there at Veterans Services.
Her concerns included that even though she went in the very next morning, she was not given information on what to do and then when she went again she was told that because she didn’t fill out the right paperwork she didn’t qualify. Her biggest concern was about the way she was treated and her hopes that something could be done so that others do not receive the same kind of treatment that she did.
“Now I will tell you that this last week, it has been three months,” she said, “I did get a call from Gary Feeney that they have agreed to pay the $1000 that I would have qualified for as indigent.” She expressed her gratefulness that this came through but reasserted her concern that anyone could be treated so poorly and that something needs to be done about it.
The commissioners expressed their sympathy not only for the loss of her husband but that she has experienced these difficulties to add to her grief. They assured her that even though “Veteran Service Commission is controlled and directed under specific revised codes for the funding and operations.
They have their own Board of Directors. The Board of Commissioners has no oversight when it comes to the Veteran Service office. With that being said, we can certainly make our feelings known, we can write letters and make phone calls.” Ultimately the Veterans Service determines the outcome and she was advised that the only other recourse is to petition the Common Pleas Court.
They asked her to give them a week to check into the situation before taking that route. “Let us see if we can’t intervene on your behalf with the staff and board and maybe provide you with some resolution in a shorter timeframe,” Commissioner Brian Davis said.
Vermillion also expressed concern that the funds for indigent funeral expenses might not be getting used correctly as she was told that it has not been used for the past eight years.
She is concerned that “there are no checks and balances as far as surveys or it is not obvious… there is nothing posted about how to file a complaint.” She added, “I want there to be a way for them to report poor treatment so that it doesn’t get to the point that someone in the office is allowed to yell and scream at a widow because that is what they have been allowed to get away with. That is definitely first and foremost and I want this to be public knowledge.”
She was informed back in February or early March that an apology would be given, but, in her words, “since then the end of the world happened and I have not been able to meet with her nor have I been ready to do that.”
The commissioners assured her that they will do what they can to follow through with communicating with the funeral homes or through the veteran service office that “we are looking for better service.” Vermillion thanked them for listening and was informed they will be in touch by phone.
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com