May 15—A RECOMMENDATION THAT the
Members of the Policy Committee —
Policy Committee members voted to recommend going back to the previous arrangement, where board members paid 20% of the cost. In
Once elected, she was no longer eligible for that plan because she receives health care coverage through the
“The premiums charged by the district were substantially more and it also meant we lost our associated tax-credit of about
“In other words, I discovered that to serve on the school board, I had to pay for the privilege. I spoke with a number of people about this situation, including my health insurance broker, the director of HR, and the mayor. I explained that this situation not only cost me a lot of money, it was actually costing the city of
According to Leapley, at the time she took office —
Leapley argues you should not have to be “rich to serve as an elected official in a democracy.”
Before the full board took up the recommendation last week, two former school board members raised concerns with the proposed change during public comment.
“As a former school board member, I was involved in the policy that brought it to the 60-40,” Freeman said. “I am absolutely bamboozled. Confused. Gobsmacked that this board would think in this environment — the fact that people are having such a difficult time paying for oil in their tank to heat their houses, paying for their prescriptions and yes, paying for their own insurance — that this board would entertain the idea of enriching themselves before the people they serve. I’m absolutely embarrassed that you would entertain this.”
“Now you are going to go back on a policy that was decided by a prior board to make it less expensive to take benefits from the taxpayers,” said
Leapley disagreed with Freeman, saying the proposal wouldn’t affect current board members, only those elected in future years — starting with the 2023 municipal election.
Leapley said access to the school district’s health insurance impacted her access to Affordable Care Act plans, costing her thousands of dollars each year.
Similar concerns could impact a person’s decision whether or not to run for office, she said.
“I want people to be able to serve in our government who aren’t wealthy,” Leapley said. “Who come from all different walks of life who are 20 years old, who are 60 years old, who are 80 years old. We all have human bodies, and all of our human bodies can get sick. I think this is a human issue and our representatives in a democracy are human and I think they deserve health care.”
“It doesn’t make sense,” O’Connell said. “My understanding is that we were made employees because it was the only way to allow school board members to avail themselves of the district health plans. The real stupidity here is that it makes no sense that we’re employees. I’m not one. I didn’t run to be one. I answer to the people of
The proposal was sent back to the Policy Committee to allow School District Attorney
Two city department heads to depart
Two city department heads have given aldermen notice of their plans to retire next month.
“This has been a difficult decision for me as I have truly appreciated the opportunity to work with so many talented elected officials, individuals and city employees over the years, who have all contributed in making
“I will leave city service taking comfort in the knowledge that the current staff of the
Ferguson wrote she “enjoyed working with the city’s talented staff, and the hardworking and dedicated HR team.” She has offered to assist in the transition process to a new director.
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