Yorkville to Phase Out Insurance for Elected Officials
Health insurance packages will not be offered to newly elected officials, but those who win reelection can keep insurance they may have under plan floated by Mayor Golinski.
Yorkville will phase out health insurance for elected officials under a plan adopted by city alderman Tuesday night.
The question of insurance for elected officials has been a controversial topic since 2011 when Ward 4 Alderman Diane Teeling suggested looking at the policy before the next election.. While controversial, the city could not change the terms of benefits, including medical, dental and vision insurance for elected officials during the middle of their elected terms, but could address them for the next board of aldermen. Tuesday night’s council meeting was the last meeting council could act on the insurance question before the spring election.
Mayor Gary Golinski said he did not think it was right to strip elected officials who use the insurance package of their benefits. He said the best plan was to phase out the insurance package, with no new members of the city council would be eligible. However, current board members who used the plan and won re-election would still be able to receive the insurance.
Aldermen approved the health insurance plan in 2007, which costs the city $121,955 for medical, dental and vision insurance for seven of the 11 eligible officials last fiscal year. Yorkville spent more than $250,000 on health, dental and vision insurance for its elected officials from 2007-2011, according to information Yorkville Patch received through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Alderman Jacquelyn Milschewski proposed an amendment to eliminate access to insurance when the aldermen completed their current terms of office.
“If you run for another term and get reelected, it will be over… otherwise. the program could go on for years,” Milschewski said.
Her amendment, as well as one offered by Alderman Larry Kot to sunset the insurance program in 2017, were both defeated.
Golinski, who voted against Kot’s amendment to break a tie vote, said he believed his proposal was the “fairest way” to deal with the insurance issue.
“It’s going to get done, it just may take a little bit longer,” Golinski said. “I think this is the fairest way to deal with this.”
Elected officials also opposed a plan floated by the mayor to provide a $2,000 increase to the salaries of aldermen and the mayor. The proposed raises would not have impacted the current board of aldermen, but would go into effect after the next local election. Officials have not approved a hike in compensation for elected city officials since 2007.
Yorkville’s mayor is paid $8,500 a year, plus $100 for each City Council meeting he or she attends, according to city code. Aldermen get $3,600, plus the $100 per City Council meeting.
Golinski said he thinks council members deserve the increase given all the work they do for the city.
Kot said local public officials are underpaid, but said the mayor’s proposal was too much money. He said city employees only received a 2.1 percent raise after several years of a salary freeze, but the mayor’s proposal was an increase of nearly 20 percent.
“It’s just too much. I can’t see supporting this,” he said.
While the aldermen did not support increasing their own pay, they supported a token payment of $135 for attending “special” city council meetings to the mayor, aldermen, treasurer, clerk and deputy clerk who attends.
Aldermen also approved raising the pay of the deputy city clerk to $4,900 plus $100 per meeting attended and compensation for a deputy treasurer to $4,900. The city does not currently have a deputy treasurer.