Lake commissioners hope new vendor search yields millions in savings

2013-09-23T18:57:00Z 2013-09-23T21:10:10Z Lake commissioners hope new vendor search yields millions in savingsBy Bill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com
September 23, 2013 6:57 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | Lake County commissioners got a start last week on what promises to be millions of dollars in savings.

The three executives officially began the process of shopping for new vendors to perform more than $38 million in services ranging from insurance for county government employees to medical and psychiatric care for county jail inmates.

They issued requests for qualifications to the private sector for businesses to step up, offer their credentials and express interest in providing the county with professional management.

The requests are for heating, air conditioning and ventilation of county buildings, data processing of digital county records, health care for county jail inmates and administration of the county government employees' group insurance plan.

Larry Blanchard, a consultant for county commissioners, said he expects a new insurance administrator to generate between $2 million and $4.5 million alone through a less expensive network of doctors and hospitals. Professional Claims Management of Illinois has administered the employee insurance plan since 2005.

Johnson Controls of Milwaukee has overseen climate control in the buildings since the 1970s. Cenifax Network Solutions of Schererville has controlled almost every computer in Lake County government since 1992, Correctional Health Indiana and a group of medical consultants have been doing health care at the jail the last two years.

Commissioners Mike Repay, D-Hammond, and Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, said it is unclear whether any new vendors will replace the old. "This is just one component of the process, not the end," Repay said.

Commissioners voted 2-1 to give Sheriff John Buncich permission to buy two new Ford F-150 trucks from Smith Ford of Lowell. The sheriff said the $41,526 cost is being covered by forfeited drug dealers assets.

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