By Chris Bouchard
CARIBOU — The Aroostook County Commissioners met Oct. 7 at the Caribou Courthouse and elected new officers, spoke with Kim Rohn, Maine staff assistant for Congressman Bruce Poliquin, and discussed their Maine Municipal Association workers’ compensation experience rating.
Commissioners elected Norman Fournier of Wallagrass as Director of the Maine County Commissioners Association and Paul Underwood of Presque Isle as Proxy. Similarly, Fournier was elected risk pool director and Underwood as proxy.
Fournier was also elected the CEO for the Workforce and Opportunity Act (WIOA, formerly WIA) program.
Rohn let the Commissioners know how she and the congressman can assist them.
“We do do grant support letters,” said Rohn, “so if any of you need a support letter, just shoot me an email with the grant, what it’s about, and a deadline. We can help your constituents with any federal issue. We can help with Social Security, Medicare, and any other federal agency. We may not be able to help with every state agency, but I know a lot of contacts so I can certainly send you in the right direction. We are open to invites for any ribbon cuttings, especially new businesses. [Poliquin] is very much into economic development. We definitely want to support our small businesses.”
County Administrator Douglas F. Beaulieu gave a report on the Maine Municipal Association Workers’ Compensation Experience Rating.
“Our claims experience report with health insurance is exceptional,” said Beaulieu, “but it’s actually gone the other way with our workers’ comp. The experience mod is at 1.56.”
The administrator explained that, after an MMA audit, the workplace is not unsafe, but that the injury reports are primarily coming out of the the Sheriff’s Office and Corrections.
“We’ve had some officers who have been involved in altercations with inmates and that’s been a problem,” continued Beaulieu. “We had a stress claim in the Sheriff’s Department and those can be very expensive. That claim is being settled as we speak and, I believe, that individual has resigned.
“Every time there is a settlement it ends up getting assessed against us and it impacts our premium. A lot of the stuff that is happening has truly been beyond our control. For a number of years our experience mod was under one and now it has climbed up. We’ll likely see a pay increase in Corrections and Law Enforcement because each job is rated differently based on the risk involved,” Beaulieu said.