As we wrote about in print this week, it is extremely clear that the Government Contract Review Committee in Frankfort terminated a contract with Seven Counties Services not because of their poor performance, but as retaliation against the mental health nonprofit for successfully pulling out of the Kentucky Retirement Systems. Though the Beshear administration is cagey on this, it’s also clear that they did not exercise their option to continue Seven Counties’ contract, instead ending it on Oct. 31.
We had trouble finding any legislators in Louisville who would speak out against this move, but on cn2 Pure Politics last night, Rep. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, told Nick Storm that she “was very disappointed by the action of the committee, and subsequently the action by the administration, to move towards terminating that contract.” On the prospect of more Seven Counties contracts being pulled, Adams added that “The game of punishment and retribution should be over. I think now is the time for us to figure out a solution to this situation so that nobody falls through the cracks.”
That solution Adams refers to may involve Seven Counties offering up some kind of concession for the state, who is picking up the slack on the nonprofits’ retirees, but notes that the $90 million figure cited by KRS and legislators may be way off base.
“I think that the $90 million is in dispute as well,” said Adams. “Seven Counties has made every single contribution required of them to this point, before they had to file for bankruptcy. The problem is that we have these agencies that are so vital to our most vulnerable citizens, that we have to come up with some sort of answer for them. Because you can’t pay 40 cents of every dollar into a pension system and think they’re going to be able to continue serving those most vulnerable in our community.”
Seven Counties spokeswoman Gwen Cooper also told LEO that this $90 million figure for the liability that they supposedly are walking away from is off base.
“There is no liability,” said Cooper. “There’s no mechanism, according to the judge’s ruling, to determine what that liability, if any, would be. So that’s really something that KRS and the state have to work on before we can be held accountable for some fictitious number that nobody can quantify.”
The Government Contract Review Committee’s next meeting is in two weeks. Let’s see if they’ve sent enough of a message to Seven Counties — and other nonprofits considering walking in their footsteps — or if more contracts will enter Frankfort’s butcher shop.