Lake County replaces costly consultant

2013-01-18T20:30:00Z Lake County replaces costly consultantBill Dolan, (219) 662-5328
January 18, 2013 8:30 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | One of Lake County government's top paid consultants is out.

Crown Point lawyer George Patrick no longer will provide legal advice on certain matters. Lake County Attorney John Dull said this week Griffith attorney Matthew Fech will now provide legal advice on workers' compensation claims for employees who have been injured on the job and are seeking wage replacement and medical benefit payments.

Shared Resources Solutions Inc., of Hammond, will process unemployment claims for people who have been terminated from county jobs and are seeking wage replacement payments.

Fech and Shared Resources on Jan. 1 took over responsibilities once performed by Patrick, who is no longer a county government consultant. Patrick declined to comment this week on the changeover.

A 2010 Times investigation of county spending trends showed Patrick was among county government's top 10 consultants in terms of pay.

County records indicate he received $2.8 million between 2000 to 2009 for his firm's work on labor relations and a variety of litigation. Patrick said in 2010 those payments included overhead costs he had to bear in paying four associate lawyers and a dozen employees, court stenographers and expert witnesses.

Patrick's contracts for processing workers' compensation and unemployment claims totaled $72,000 last year. Dull said Shared Resources is doing the employment work for no additional cost to the county beyond the $42,000 contract it already holds for providing other human resource services.

Fech's compensation hasn't been made a matter of public record yet, according to the Board of Commissioners office. Dull said the taxpayers should see an eventual savings of about $24,000 a year under the new arrangement.

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