Union suspends suit against Local Gov. Center
CONCORD — The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire “suspended” a lawsuit it filed against the New Hampshire Local Government Center regarding LGC finances, pending the outcome of a Secretary of State investigation.
David Lang, a Hampton resident and president of the FFA, said the union filed a motion to suspend the suit on Friday. Lang said the action was taken Oct. 22 after the Secretary of State's office said findings from its investigation regarding LGC finances will be released Thursday.
In June, Gov. John Lynch signed a bill granting oversight of the LGC to Secretary of State Bill Gardner and authorizing Gardner to release any excess reserve funds to contributing communities.
The LGC is a nonprofit organization which manages the statewide public employees health insurance pool and was formed to allow municipalities to combine funds for lower insurance rates. Critics allege the LGC has tens of millions of surplus dollars that should, by law, be returned to contributing communities.
Lang brought the controversy to light through a series of Right To Know requests that went to the state Supreme Court, which found in the union's favor. He previously told the Herald that 2008 figures show the LGC had $132 million in net assets and asserted those funds should be returned to contributing communities.
Taxpayers should care, said Lang, because they fund most of the LGC insurance pool, adding that Portsmouth is the largest contributing municipality.
In its lawsuit, the FFA alleged the LGC “amassed over $132 million dollars in net assets,” while spending $3.6 million to build and expand the LGC's Concord office and $10 million to fund the LGC worker's compensation pool.”
LGC Director Maura Carroll previously urged legislators to give regulation over the LGC to the state Insurance Department.
“This has been a very long and unfortunate journey forced upon us and the taxpayers of this state by the Local Government Center's misuse of taxpayer dollars,” Lang said Monday. “We only seek reimbursement for the taxpayers and our members for the egregious and arrogant overcharging for health care by the LGC. We are confident that the Secretary of State's report will prove what we have always known, that the LGC is overcharging taxpayers and our members for health care.”