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Naperville Council Doubling Salary to Save Money

Agenda item L.2 from the 4/15/2014 Naperville City Council meeting reads: "Consider the issue of whether council members should continue to be eligible for health and dental coverage and direct staff accordingly."

 

"Continue to be eligible for health and dental" -- does not include "or double each council member's pay in lieu of health and dental benefits".

 

The decision to vote on this item in this manner did not magically appear out of thin air at the dias; it is painfully clear that closed door discussions on this topic occurred prior to the meeting in order to get the numbers in order.

 

Federal health care reform law indicates employees must work 1,500 annually (30 hours per week) to qualify for health care. All council members have previously stated that they could not certify that they worked more than 1,000 hours (<20 per week). So this seems like "OK, we're not eligible for health care because we don't work enough, let's just get the money directly".

 Later in the 4/15 meeting under “New Business”, Councilman Steve Chirico asked City staff to prepare an ordinance to allow part time employees participate in the health plans.

 This does not pass the smell test. Combine this with the IMEA mess, the SmartMeter portal disaster and it takes incredible hubris to make this decision at this point in time. Most employees ask the boss for a raise after a string of successes.

This has been presented as a compromise that will save the City money.  It has been reported that the current cost of healthcare for City Council members is $103,887 annually.   This increase will cost the tax payers $96,000 annually.  It is a stretch to call allocating 92.4% of the current benefit spend to salary increases for all council members a "compromise". (96,000 / 103,887)

The spin seems to be in justifying how a vote on a formal agenda item on whether or not to retain health and dental coverage somehow was altered to be a vote allocating 92.4% of the current benefit spend as salary. If Agenda Item L.2 was worded "Vote on doubling council member salary" a significantly different crowd would have been in chambers on 4/15.  No matter how it is spun to indicate that this is not about increasing Council Members pay, the facts bore out to be exactly increasing salary -- in fact, doubling it.

City Council members are part-time officials who work, by their own admission, less than 20 hours per week. Council is attempting to save taxpayer dollars by dropping their health care, doubling their salary, AND looking for ways to have City staff prepare an ordinance to allow part-time employees to acquire health care coverage.

This logic is difficult to follow.


Jeff Anderson

Naperville, IL

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