Bay Health Foundation Fights for Control of Pension Fund

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Bay Health Foundation Board Members are talking about the county commission's actions involving Bay Medial Sacred Heart's employee pension fund.

The commission wants to set up an irrevocable trust to protect the fund's assets.

The hospital board believes the commission is trying to remove the pension fund from the board's control.

This week Bay County Commissioners proposed to place the pension fund into an irrevocable trust.

The move comes 3 weeks after Florida's Attorney General issued an opinion, stating Bay County taxpayers would be responsible for the fund if something happened to the hospital.

The county would be liable for more than $100 million, $15 million of that unfunded.

Bay County Commission George Gainer said, "We just haven't had the transparency that we felt like we needed over there."

It was a motion that shocked the Board Chairman.

Bay Health Foundation Chairman Don Connor said, "What people don't realize is we put more money in it every year."

None of the hospital trustees were at the Tuesday commission meeting.

Connor says they thought they'd already reached an agreement with the county.

The miscommunication is one of many disputes between the two sides.

But Connor insists the pension funding is not one of those problems, saying, "There's never been a problem, there's never been any danger at all. It's always been funded at a level the actuary says to do"

This year the actuary required the hospital to add $1.7 million to the fund.

The board says they've added more than $2.4 million.

Gainer said, "I think that this is a situation here where there's gotta be some mutual trust."

Connor said, "We're not going to walk away from it, and we're not going to allow anybody else to take it over."

The motion to possibly dissolve the hospital board will be presented to local legislative delegation in early December.