Democrats call on LGC to return surplus funds

Last modified: 8/5/2011 12:00:00 AM
Past and present Democratic state senators said yesterday the Local Government Center should promptly return to municipalities millions of dollars in insurance surplus.

The Democrats cited a report by the Bureau of Securities Regulation that claims the Concord nonprofit organization owes more than $87 million to cities, towns and school districts who bought insurance through its health and property risk management pools. The author of the report said after the report's release Tuesday that he believes the LGC owes more than $100 million. The report also claims the LGC failed to follow state law when it reorganized in 2003.

'This money belongs to the towns and municipalities,' said former state senator Deb Reynolds. 'The LGC should give the millions of dollars it is holding back now without delay.'

Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen and the other Democrats at the press conference credited their efforts in 2010 with giving regulators authority to investigate pooled risk management programs. They encouraged the LGC to reach a settlement with state regulators rather than disputing the claims through a process of administrative hearings.

'The LGC has a choice here,' said former state senator Maggie Hassan. 'It can continue to litigate and to resist and to argue about this or it can at the very least look for points of agreement.'

Officials with the LGC say they have complied with the law while maintaining conservative reserves in the insurance pools. Executive Director Maura Carroll said she looks forward to presenting the organization's case in administrative hearings. She said the organization is also willing to meet with securities officials to discuss areas of possible agreement.

'We want to make sure we are able to show we have operated appropriately all of these years and been good stewards of the money that belongs to the cities and towns and school districts that are members of ours,' Carroll said.

Firefighters appeal

Also yesterday, the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire appealed to the state Supreme Court a ruling by a lower court allowing the LGC to redact portions of its meeting minutes involving attorney advice. Union President David Lang said the minutes should be available under the Right-to-Know law. He said the LGC has defended against criticism by saying it acted on the advice of attorneys.

Carroll said the superior court had found the LGC was allowed to redact the portions of its minutes because they involved the advice of legal counsel, even though discussions took place in public session.

(Karen Langley can be reached at 369-3316 or klangley@cmonitor.com.)




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