In a memo shared with the press, Tipp City Council Member Joe Gibson is proposing that the City eliminate health insurance coverage for members of city council effective the end of this year. The idea was initially floated amongst council members in a study session during Council’s March 7, 2011 meeting. The measure however was also tied to an increase ($4,000) in the cash compensation that council receives. After discussion, neither measure was brought up for consideration by council. Taken together, the measures lacked the support they needed for passage. Gibson intends on introducing the measure on health insurance alone at next Monday’s City Council Meeting. Unlike the straw votes cast on March 7th, a super-majority (5) votes will not be necessary, Gibson must coordinate only 4 for passage of the ordinance.
Gibson requested that Council place on the March 21, 2011 Council Meeting Agenda the proposed ordinance to eliminate the health care by itself.
“After reviewing the ordinance dealing with health insurance as proposed, and in discussing it at length with many members of the community, I believe that City Council should consider formal passage of this ordinance” stated Gibson who at the time also made it clear that the elimination of health insurance for Council members should not be tied to a pay increase, or any other measure. “As stated in the meeting, I was and continue to be against the measure increasing the compensation for Council members.” Gibson went on to state “I am requesting that the proposed ordinance dealing with the elimination of Council health insurance and only this proposed ordinance be placed on the agenda for Monday’s meeting.”
“I believe that the citizens want this from us, and at this crucial time where we are asking residents to pay more taxes, this is a good way to show leadership, and demonstrate our level of commitment to the community.” Gibson said.
Council Medical Makeup
5 of the 7 members of Council currently receive the City health insurance benefit. Mayor Dee Gillis, Council President Pat Hale, John Kessler, and George Lovett receive the coverage paid for pursuant to the city ordinance which requires the City to pay 88% of the premium and the employee to pay 12%. Councilman Gibson has stated that he also receives the City’s health insurance, however he reimburses the City 100% of its premium.
While opposed to the ordinance when tied to the pay increase, Gibson appears more amenable to significant cuts for members of council who have received these stated benefits since 1992 when Council first enacted the ordinance providing them with group hospitalization/major medical insurance coverage.
Gibson shared, “Many of us have run for council not for the pay and not for the health insurance benefits, but because we have been called upon by our neighbors and fellow citizens to serve.”
The proposal is expected to be introduced at Monday’s City Council meeting on March 21st, with the final vote at the next meeting set for April 4th. Council meetings are open to the public and start at 7:30 p.m. at the Government Center on Garber Drive.