Danville City Commission changes insurance brokers

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2020

After issuing a request for proposals for a firm to oversee Danville’s employee health care plan, CIty Manager David Milliron recommended Strongside Solutions out of Georgia Monday night.

“Disclosure is the best thing — Strongside Solutions has followed me,” Milliron said. “I’ve worked with them at three prior cities, but I had nothing to do with the actual scoring.”

He said he “deliberately and intentionally” excluded himself out from the scoring process of the applying firms, which was done by the management team.

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Milliron said, “Interestingly enough, the Georgia firm found out about the RFP from a Kentucky bidder, who apparently Googled my background and wanted to find out what was important to me on insurance and cost-cutting … so there you have it.”

The whole process has been open and transparent, he said, with all of the RFPs submitted posted on the city’s website. At the end of the day, Milliron said, “we selected the vendor we believe that, in the city’s best interest, is about cost containment …” followed by generating better benefits without raising costs.

Milliron said he has gone through “hundreds of pages of data” he requested in order to do research. “Cost containment was not happening” with the current firm, he said.

“For whatever rhyme or reason in the past … we saw that our prescription costs were going up 27%, our overall health care was up 20%, and this is despite everything the previous city manager had put into place,” Milliron said.

He said moreover, “you’ve heard from the staff; I’ve certainly heard from the staff. Customer service is not meeting anywhere near par. The staff is very very frustrated, and I have heard them loud and clear.”

Strongside Solutions beat out Johnson & Pohlman, a local company. The city’s current provider was also a semi-finalist, but withdrew from the process before the oral presentations.

Milliron said he recommends the city move forward with Strongside.

“Certainly, I know them very well. I can show you success stories at all three cities … this company is also working on a plan to put forth to the state of Georgia to take over their health care containment …”

He said he thinks going with the company will greatly affect the savings possibility for the city, as well as offer better customer service. “And then we will need to roll that into our total compensation package when we look at … the budget, benefits and how all that blends together with retirement.”

Milliron said if the commission approves the move, the broker would “engage immediately,” then the city has a renewal coming up the first of May. “The goal is not to cause disruption, meaning we already have existing healthcare, so let’s start managing that. Then as it makes sense, tweak and change where it doesn’t cause any real issues.”

The city commission voted unanimously for Milliron’s recommendation.

In other business, Milliron reminded the city commission that representatives from Mopdog Marketing Strategy & Talent Acquisition, also a company out of Georgia, have been contracted by the city to help create a workforce development campaign.

The cost for the professional service is $19,000 and is paid out of the administrative budget.

William and Cheryl Musial were on-hand from the company, which Milliron said was being used to “take a holistic look at marketing and retention at the city.”

Cheryl Musial said Mopdog was “kicking off” its initiative on Tuesday by meeting with multiple city department heads and holding a lunch and learn session with “a number of city employees.” An online survey is also being offered, she said, in conjunction with the new HR Director Randy Boyd. She said the first phase will be completed over the next few weeks, with reviewing information from city employees on “what are the top challenges and what really are those unique value points for a person to work for the City of Danville and to help it shine.”

From that point, the company will be creating concepts and messaging that the city will be able to utilize. The company will also “develop tools that can be implemented on this local level,” and how to continue the efforts forward.

Musial said the company is based in Georgia, and has worked with the municipal association for “all the cities across the state of Georgia.”

Mayor Mike Perros asked if “the effort is confined to the city, we’re not trying to create workforce programing, packaging for the community at large, this is … our organization, our employees and our ability to attract employees?”

Musial said, “Yes, that’s correct.”

Commissioner Kevin Caudill asked about the timeline, and if there would be “a tangible product that will come out of this?”

William Musial said the company works in three phases, with phase 1 up to four weeks; then the concept is 2-4 weeks; then the implementation is within a 6-8 week period. “This would be something we’d do that … represents the City of Danville, that kind of solves the issues that we’re able to find … we’d give you guys back things to use, innovations, files, creative, you know, and kind of outline how to do it.”

Milliron said this is a “multi-tiered marketing retention plan. So the collaterals in the basis of the foundation they’re giving us will be for social media, for print, for our website. All external communications, internal communications, promoting our employees and the greatness of what they do for us everyday, while the same time helping to recruit.”

Perros asked Mopdog if that on the final phase — for the marketing and ad campaign — “you all will be implementing that, developing that? You won’t take staff time …”

“They create the collaterals and we handle placement through HR,” Milliron said. “… they’ll give us the recipe to put it all together … I’ve worked with this firm, in fact I was on a task force in Georgia, which is why when I got here … I knew exactly who to call.” He said this project will be “tailored specific to Danville … I think we will raise it to a whole new level here in Danville.”