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March 2012

The Mutual Effort Final 3

In This Issue
WI Chapter of PRIMA March Meeting
Pothole Liability Signed into Law
Legal Report: Liability of Smart Phones
Auger Safety Standard
Lafayatte County Wins Fourteenth Amendment Liberty Interest Lawsuit
County Highway Safety Days Coming in May
Case Study on CIC's Pre-Claim Loss Control
School Legal Bulletin: Contracts
CIC Awards Rice Lake School District Safety Award
Legislative Update
Recall on Children's Slide

What Others Are Saying About Us...

"I want to thank you for providing extremely competent legal professionals who are clearly well-versed in federal laws and procedures. Jim Scott and Oyvind Wistrom were both tremendous professionals to work with."
-Sheriff Scott Pedley
Lafayette County
 (In a recent letter to Dave Bisek of Aegis Corporation



New ADA Requirements Now in Effect for Public Swimming Pools

Effective this month, there are new ADA requirements now in effect for public swimming pools. Learn more here.      




Hot Link...

Some of the duties of the former Wisconsin Department of Commerce are now within the the Wisconsin Department of Safety & Professional Services (DSPS).  Check out their website here.       




Upcoming Training: De-Escalation and Defense in Vernon County...

There will be a "De-Escalation and Defense" seminar in Vernon County on April 9th and April 18th.  The training will be held in Viroqua and will feature Don Everhard.


For locations, times and registration information, click here. 


For more information, contact Vance Forrest of Aegis Corporation at 800.236.6885.




Where's MILO?


The County Mutual and Community Insurance Corporation own several state-of-the-art firearm training simulators that are available for use free of charge for our member law enforcement agencies.


Currently, the MILO system is currently being used in Pepin and Iowa Counties, with Iron County on deck. 


The other simulator, the Prism system, is currently in Adams County and was recently used in Green and Richland Counties.


Recently, Milo was used in Juneau, Clark, Vernon, Dunn and Monroe Counties.


To schedule either system in your county, please contact Bruce Scott with Aegis Corporation at 800.236.6885.


Grant Writing Workshop


Milwaukee County Sheriff's Training Academy and Grant Writing USA will present a two-day grants workshop in Franklin, April 3-4, 2012. 

This training is for grant seekers across all disciplines.  Attend this class and you'll learn how to find grants and write winning grant proposals.   


Complete event details including learning objectives, class location, graduate testimonials and online registration are available here.




Schedule a Risk Management Visit Today


The County Mutual and Community Insurance Corporation's (CIC) risk management program is run by general administrator Aegis Corporation.  


On any given day, their staff are providing hands-on training around the state on topics such as chainsaw safety, blood borne pathogens, and violence in the workplace.


The risk management services provided are a free member service to County Mutual and CIC clients. 


To learn more and to schedule a visit, contact Vance Forrest, Vice President of Risk Management at Aegis Corporation, at 800.236.6885 or via email.     






facebook Stay up-to-date on the happenings of the County Mutual by following us on Twitter and becoming a fan on Facebook.  Click on the links here for Community Insurance Corporation's Twitter and Facebook.





The Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation (County Mutual) is dedicated to serving Wisconsin's counties and local governments and the people they serve by providing long-term stability in insurance coverages, while proactively working to control costs. 

Community Insurance Corporation provides these same services to school districts, cities, towns and villages.

To learn more, contact John Dirkse or Karen Flynn at  [email protected] or [email protected], at 800.236.6885 or online at www.wisconsincountymutual.org
To visit Community Insurance Corporation, click here.

To receive The Mutual Effort online, click here to subscribe and be sure to include your preferred email address, your name, county/municipality and job title.   


Feel free to forward onto any interested parties and we'll get them on the mailing list as well.  


For questions, contact Michelle Gormican Thompson.  



Quick Links

County Mutual's Jodi Traas to Present on Risk Management at the March Meeting of the Wisconsin Chapter of PRIMA
Aegis Corporation Hosting Event 

Jodi Traas, Senior Risk Management Consultant with the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation and Community Insurance Corporation, will be presenting at the March 29, 2012 meeting of the Wisconsin Chapter of PRIMA (Public Risk Management Association) on "Risk Management Best Practices During a Time of Change."

The March meeting is sponsored by Aegis Corporation and features key state officials, including Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Secretary Dave Ross.

The event will be held at the Stevens Point Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center.  To see all speakers for the events, as well as the full agenda for the meeting, click here.

To RSVP, contact Josh Dirkse at Aegis Corporation at 800.236.6885 or via email. Please note there is no fee for attending the meeting.  If you are not currently a member of the WI PRIMA Chapter, you are cordially invited to attend the meeting as our guest.
Pothole Liability Bill Signed into Law

WCA & Co. Staff with Gov. Walker
After years of work by local governments and countless hours spent meeting with state and local officials, the "pothole liability" bill was finally signed into law by Governor Scott Walker on Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

Senate Bill 125 affords counties the same liability protection as the state of Wisconsin.

"Local officials and the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) have been working on this issue for many years and we are excited to see it finally signed into law," said WCA Executive Director Mark D. O'Connell.  "Success does not always occur overnight, however, here is an example of persistence paying off. The passage of this legislation will reduce liability claims and help the bottom line of the County Mutual and Community Insurance Corporation."
Smart Phones, Tablets and Portable Memory Devices: Can You Afford the Liability of an Employee's Loss of a Device?

By Ron Stadler, Partner, Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan, S.C.

The biggest threat to your information technology is not an outside hacker -- it's an employee's forgetfulness. As technology becomes smaller and more portable, it becomes easier to lose, and lost devices have become a significant issue because most employers are not protecting the data on mobile devices. Accordingly, when the device is lost, the data on it can be accessed or it could be used to access your other systems. Read the full article here.
Auger Safety Standard Applied to Keep Workers Safe


Counties and municipalities use tailgate sanders with augers for grinding and moving salt/sand and other material to a spreader. These augers are unguarded and accessible when used in the operational mode.

There have been three fatalities in Wisconsin in the last ten years involving this type of auger, with two being public sector employees and one was a private owner. Two of the accident occurred in 2010. In both cases the individuals were pulled into the auger receiving severe injuries resulting in death.

To ensure workers on these machines are safe, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services is now applying a general machine guarding standard, 1910.212. Read more about this issue here. 
Legal Bulletin: Lafayette County Wins Fourteenth Amendment Liberty Interest Lawsuit

By Oyvind Wistrom, Lindner & Marsack, S.C.


The legal battle between Lafayette County Sheriff Scott Pedley and one of his former sheriff's deputies is finally over, with the U.S. Supreme Court declining to accept certiorari of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals' decision finding in favor the Sheriff.  Read the full article here to learn more. 
Plan to Attend: County Highway Safety Days Coming in May 

The Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation will be holding the inaugural Highway Safety Days in May 2012. Dates and locations include May 15th in Rice Lake and May 24th in Stevens Point. The event, held at two separate locations and dates, will be a day of enrichment for county highway employees and municipal employees.

To see the full agenda, as well as registration information for the County Mutual's Highway Safety Days, click here.
Similar School Districts; Very Different Outcomes Due to CIC's Pre-Claim Loss Control Efforts 

The Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation and Community Insurance Corporation (CIC) adhere to a strong claims philosophy and have never wavered from our belief to fight for our clients in a proactive manner.


A recent news story best illustrates this point. A non-CIC client, the Middleton-Cross Plains School District, recently had to pay legal fees for attorneys and arbitrator costs close to $400,000 to fight an arbitration demand for a teacher that was terminated after having pornographic content on their computer that violated the district's policies. Because the arbitrator reinstated the teacher, the district now has to repay the teacher $195,000 in back pay and benefits and is currently appealing the decision. Read the latest story on this decision from the Wisconsin State Journal here.


The CIC Difference

Community Insurance Corporation recently set up a Pre-Claim Loss Control file for a similar sized school district to assist them in dealing with the discipline/termination of three employees that were found to have similar content on their computers that violated this district's policy. CIC's Pre-Claim Loss Control program is a claims and loss control tool the company uses when a situation arises that could lead to a covered claim, but has not yet triggered coverage under a CIC or County Mutual polity.  


Read the full article here by "Mutual Effort" staff here.  

Avoiding Trojan Horses in Contracts: Practical Advice for School Business Managers 
By Steven M. Schindhelm, Phillips Borowski, S.C.

One of the challenges faced by business managers of school districts is the administration and management of contracts. Business managers must negotiate and approve the terms of contracts ranging from the mundane (e.g., purchase of school supplies, copier lease agreements) to highly specialized (e.g., professional services, real estate agreements, employment contracts).

Since the nature of the schools' business is general, school typically do not have the luxury of using their own form agreements to simplify the contracting process. In this context, business managers must make decisions on contract terms that, in many cases, have been prepared by the other party to the contract. But have these contracts been prepared with the best interest of the school districts in mind? Read the full article here.
Community Insurance Corporation Names Steve Lewis of Rice Lake Area School District as School Safety Coordinator of the Year

l-r Jodi Traas, Patrick Blackaller, Steven Lewis & Bill Freeman
Community Insurance Corporation recently awarded its Annual Safety Scholarship for the School Safety Coordinator of the Year to Steve Lewis, Director of Facilities and Safety for the Rice Lake Area School District

The award was presented at the Wisconsin School Safety Coordinator's Association (WSSCA) conference in February. Presenting the award was Jodi Traas of Community Insurance Corporation. Also present with winner Steve Lewis was Patrick Blackaller, Director of Finance and Operations, Rice Lake Area School District, and Bill Freeman, WSSCA President (at the time of the photo).

To learn more about the award, as well as how you can apply for the 2012 program, click here

Community Insurance Corporation is well represented with WSSCA, as Risk Management Consultant Jodi Traas serves as an advisor to the WSSCA Board of Directors and serves on the Professional Development Committee. Visit www.wssca.org to learn more about the association.    
Legislative Update: No More Compensatory and Punitive Damages for WFEA Violations

The Wisconsin Assembly passed a bill on February 21, 2012, eliminating compensatory and punitive damages awards for violations of Wisconsin's Fair Employment Act (WFEA).

This bill was passed by the Wisconsin Senate in November 2011, and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Walker shortly. This law reverses a law from the Doyle administration that was passed in 2009, that mirrored Title VII and provided for compensatory and punitive damages up to $300,000.

The new law will apply to all future complaints as well as all pending complaints where a final determination has not been reached by the Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) or the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Read the full article here by Saul Glazer of Axley Brynelson.
Important Recall on Children's Slides 

Playground safety is an issue the County Mutual and Community Insurance Corporation is dedicated to and often trains our members on how they can make their play structures and surrounding areas as safe as possible for children.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has just issued an important recall on children's slides due to a fall hazard.  Learn more about the recall here
Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation

22 East Mifflin Street Madison, WI  53718 866.404.2700




Community Insurance Corporation

22 East Mifflin Street Madison, WI  53718 866.404.2700



"The Mutual Effort" is provided as a service to the members of the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation ("County Mutual")
and Community Insurance Corporation ("CIC") and other Internet users and is published by Aegis Corporation. It is derived from sources believed to be accurate and current as of the date of publication. However, the County Mutual makes no warranty and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information herein.  "The Mutual Effort Online" is provided for general information only, and is not intended as legal advice.  Any links to other sites within this publication are not endorsements of any products or services in such sites, and no information in such site has been endorsed or approved by County Mutual. Unauthorized republication of any copyrighted material from this site or sites to which we link, without the copyright owner's permission, is strictly prohibited.