Perry chief: Township gets interest on his money

PERRY TWP. — Police Chief Mike Emigh said if he needs to seek legal action to get the issue over the deferred compensation program remedied, he may just do that.

“You guys are getting interest off of my money and that’s not right,” Emigh said.

A problem with the deferred compensation program for township employees came to the public’s attention during a meeting last month when a road employee asked what trustees were doing about the issue. The issue was that money was being taken out of the paychecks for employees contributing to the program, but that money was not reaching their program accounts.

Apparently two months worth of contributions had not reached the company, with township Fiscal Officer Susan Johnston saying she confirmed with the bank that the two checks she sent in the mail had not been cashed and that the company had not received the money. She explained that the checks representing employee contributions were always sent monthly. After the issue with the checks came up, she said she was told the company could not take electronic payments.

During the trustee meeting Monday, she said she was now told that electronic payments can be accepted, but that the company needed to send her a user name and password and that had not happened yet.

Employees had expressed concern about losing interest and she said she had the company calculate how much money had been lost by the two checks being lost in the mail. The total came to $4.74 for all three employees for two months, which the company was paying to the employee accounts to make them whole. She also pointed out that she’s now sending a check to the company every payday (every two weeks) and it’s costing $7.35 each time.

As for setting up a meeting between the three employees and Empower Retirement, the company providing the deferred compensation program, Johnston said she was told the company probably wouldn’t make the trip for just three employees. There had been talk about switching to a different company, but when employees met with someone from Ohio Deferred Comp, they were told they couldn’t leave Empower, but Johnston said she was told they can transfer to another plan. Emigh said he wants to see it in writing.

She said the plan they’re in is the largest in the country and was selected by a previous set of trustees. She said she’s not the person who picked the plan, but it was her idea to have one. She also said the money has always been sent by check each month.

Emigh asked about the company’s plan for depositing the money, complaining about the fact that it was taking about six weeks from the time it was taken from his check to be deposited into his account. For someone like him who’s been in the plan for many years, that represents thousands of dollars. He said it’s not right for the township to be getting his interest and it should be looked into.

When asked about the threat of legal action from Emigh, Trustee Jim Armeni said “if he feels that’s what he needs to do, that’s his decision.”

“We’ve done nothing wrong,” Trustee Chair Cliff Mix said.

Trustee Don Rudibaugh said it depends on how the plan was set up, saying nobody’s at fault if that’s how it was set up. He did add though, if it was him, he would want his money sent in right away.