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Polisena Asks Delta: Where Were the Savings Before Town Switched?

After a Delta Dental spokeswoman said the town could have saved the more money than it did by switching to Blue Cross, Mayor Joseph Polisena wondered aloud why Delta didn't offer cheaper rates earlier.

Mayor Joseph Polisena offered his own response to a Delta Dental statement that Johnston could have saved more money than it did by switching to Blue Cross Dental.

"Why didn’t they give us [the savings] before?" Polisena asked rhetorically during a recent interview at .

Last week, Delta Director of Corporate Communications Mary Sommer replied to Polisena's estimate of about $130,000 saved over the last 22 months by saying that Delta could have offered savings of "an additional eight percent over the savings that Mayor Polisena quoted."

The recent back-and-forth originated about two years ago, when Delta issued public letters accusing Polisena of making false statements, and a town attorney produced an internal Delta memo promising "a media blitz" against Polisena, who went on to win a third term in November, 2010.

Earlier this month, Polisena made a point of recalling the public actions taken by Delta as he announced the savings, which total about $121,000 so far this fiscal year.

After seeing the company's most recent response, Polisena again spoke about how the company handled losing the town's contract.

"They thought I was going to crumble during election time [but] I don’t crumble for anyone — they were really unprofessional [and] I’d really be reluctant to do business with them because of what they did," Polisena explained. "Obviously, they were taking more money than they should have been taking from us — and all of a sudden, because we switch, they want to save us 20 percent. It’s just sour grapes, that's all it is."

Sommer also predicted that the company would prevail in a lawsuit against the town seeking a $200,000 early termination fee — but Polisena noted, as he had previously, that the town's stance is that there was no contract in place prior to the switch from Delta.

"They maintain that Johnston has a three-year contract — we requested it and Delta admitted that the contract was not signed nor approved by the council, so therefore it became an illegal contract," Polisena said. "There’s no contract. This was with the previous administration [of the late Mayor William Macera], which, of course, doesn’t surprise me because they ran this town like Dodge City."

The change in providers also included a transition from a more-expensive fully insured plan to a self-insured plan, where the town pays for claims.

"They [also] refused to let us go from fully insured to self-insured, which would have saved us money," the mayor explained. "Wherever we can save money, we save money — $121,000 is better in our pockets than in Delta Dental’s."

 

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  • , May 7, 2012

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