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Updated: Aldermen Discuss Their Insurance

Some elected officials support continuing benefits projected to cost the city more than $100,000 a year.

Editor's note: I've added comments to the bottom of this article from two aldermen that came after the article was originally posted. Also, the projected cost, per official, for medical benefits this fiscal year is attached to this article as a PDF. For an explanation of the city's insurance and health reimbursement arrangement, see this article.

As Yorkville officials are poised to begin discussing the next budget, several support continuing to offer themselves medical benefits projected to cost the city more than $100,000 a year.

The city is expected to spend at least $121,955 for medical, dental and vision insurance for seven of the 11 eligible officials for the current fiscal year, which ends April 30.

Assuming that the same officials elect to use the same types of plans in the coming years and the overall costs increase 15 percent a year, the city’s costs would escalate to $145,054 next year; $159,560 in 2014; $175,515 in 2015; and $193,067 in 2016; according to projections provided by Mayor Gary Golinski, who said they were prepared for upcoming budget discussions.

Golinski, who does not use the city’s insurance plans, said he wants to reduce the insurance program’s impact on the budget. The city cannot change elected officials’ compensation packages in the middle of their terms, but leaders could make changes now that would go into effect in future years as officials were elected or re-elected, Golinski said.

“I would support anything that lessens the taxpayers’ burden of providing health care for part-time elected officials,” Golinski said.

Ward 4 Alderman Diane Teeling also said reductions should be made. Teeling but previously used the city’s dental and vision insurance for two years.

“We cut everything, laid off employees of this city, but we haven't cut our aldermen’s budget,” Teeling said.

Meanwhile, Ward 3 Alderman Marty Munns supported maintaining the benefit option, indicating elected officials in many places (including Kendall County Board members) receive benefits. The vast majority—98 percent of the residents he has spoken with—don’t object to them, he said.

“The insurance benefit is the only benefit we get as elected officials,” Munns said. “We all work hard, and only get paid about $5 an hour.”

Aldermen each are paid about $6,000 annually but could more than double their compensation depending on what health plan, if any, they choose. The city’s is about $500 a month for a single plan and $2,000 a month for a family plan.

Ward 1 Alderman Carlo Colosimo indicated he decided to use the city’s insurance after he was elected this spring because it was a good deal. He said he pays a portion of the premium costs as any employee would.

Colosimo supports continuing to offer elected officials the benefits.

“I agree with it with the past administration; I agree with it with this administration,” Colosimo said. “And I’ll agree with it for the next administration.”

Ward 4 Alderman Rose Spears, who uses the city's medical benefits, declined to comment for this article.

“I’m not really pleased with Patch,” Spears said when asked about her insurance coverage Thursday. “You let so many people on there with alias names. It’s a joke.”

Ward 2 Aldermen Larry Kot and Jacquelyn Milschewski, Ward 1 Alderman George Gilson Jr., and City Clerk Beth Warren did not respond to requests for comment sent via e-mail Wednesday.

Ward 3 Alderman Chris Funkhouser, who uses the city’s health benefits, said he would consider the entire budget situation during upcoming budget discussions before forming an opinion on the matter.

“That’s all dependent on how the budgetary discussions go,” Funkhouser said.

 

From Ward 2 Alderman Larry Kot: "Barring any unforeseen issues with my health insurance carriers, I will be opting out of the City of Yorkville health insurance coverage effective July 1st.   This is the next date the State of Illinois allows employees to made changes to health care benefits.  I am in an unique situation in which I can pick my health insurance coverage.  In light of the City of Yorkville's budget situation, I believe the money the City of Yorkville spends on my health insurance can be better spent on other city needs." 

From Ward 2 Alderman Jackie Milschewski: "I do not personally use the insurance. I have received several phone calls from residents who don't support this benefit. I feel the matter should be reviewed."

Dock Ellis January 20, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Who do these people think they are? They won't give an inch to provide a service - pedestrian paths - to the whole community, even going so far as to turn down a million and a half bucks. But they're fine with us taxpayers forking over our money for a gold plated insurance plan. Health PLUS vision and dental? Now that's what I call a Cadillac plan!
Jillian Duchnowski January 20, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Dock, They haven't officially turned down the Kennedy Road trail grant yet. I put a quick update on this article last night: http://patch.com/A-qmKV
Scott January 20, 2012 at 02:59 PM
The local school board members donate a great deal of time and effort but do not get benefit options like the City Council Members.
The Fighting Fox January 20, 2012 at 03:45 PM
I wanted to say that I really appreciate the coverage on this issue, it really gets under my skin when I have to suffer a bold faced hypocrite. I realize that I should know better because we are talking about politicians here, and there is a certain connotation that goes with that ilk, but it just infuriates me that nearly every single one of these people campaigned upon a platform of lies. While they were waving their flag of "fiscal conservatism" they were scheming about how winning elected office would benefit them, instead of how their service could help repair and grow our community.
Scratch on Patch January 20, 2012 at 03:48 PM
The Aldermen should just double their pay and eliminate the insurance. This system is unfair to the Aldermen that chose not to take it. Doubling their pay would still save taxpayers money. Save even more money with the rising health care costs. This would have to be enough to get the votes to remove the health care option.
Dan January 20, 2012 at 04:02 PM
I agree. The school board does not receive any compensation or perks at all.
Fred Anderson January 20, 2012 at 05:10 PM
The City can not afford the bike path but they can afford to pay the insurance for the aldermen & women. Something is out of wack here. Plus, Yorkville laid off a number of employees and has cut services but the taxpayers pay for the part time alderpesons insurance. Fred
Fred Anderson January 20, 2012 at 05:16 PM
I read in the Record recently that the Ash trees in the parkways are going to be cut down and not replaced. How will that stop the Emerald Ash Borer when there are Ash trees in the home owners yards. Replacing the parkway trees would benifit the residents more than paying aldermanic insurance.
Joy Bozzelli January 20, 2012 at 05:30 PM
There are plenty of insurance plans available to individuals (this includes families) that cost substantially less than $2000/month, and include vision and dental. I'd be happy to speak with them about what's available, if any are interested, to help them make a determination on whether to propose to stop offering this benefit.
Bob Allen January 23, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I wonder if Alderwoman Spears has ever used an alias name on Patch?
Jillian Duchnowski January 23, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Here's what Ward 2 Alderman Jackie Milschewski said in an e-mail Saturday: "I do not personally use the insurance. I have received several phone calls from residents who don't support this benefit. I feel the matter should be reviewed."
Jillian Duchnowski January 23, 2012 at 10:01 PM
That's definitely a compromise. Another downside toward offering medical benefits for elected officials is the unknown cost. Who knows what plans officials will choose 3 years from now or how premiums will increase? If you scroll down to the bottom this article, you'll see a chart detailing what some neighboring communities pay their elected officials: http://patch.com/A-gJ92
It all comes out in the wash January 26, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I said last March opt OUT and you can see who did and did not. It also took months to get the truth and that only happened when the state said publish the names you can't hide behind HIPPA. This was dishonest and trying to hide the truth and because of that I say CUT IT. And its not fair to those who do the same job at at 1/2 the pay. There is a historcial reason this position pays what it does and that changed when they gave themselves this back in 2007 while Rose was mayor pro tem. MM was there too. DO THE RIGHT thing for this community. Those receiving this also get extra money in their checks from their employeer for Opting out. And Rose my name it what it is specific to this issue. It all came out in the wash now didn't it?
It all comes out in the wash January 26, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Let the pople VOTE if they want to pay for this!
D. Smith January 27, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Can't help ponder the logic of some of these elected officials who opt out of the insurance that is provided by the companies that they work for in order to stick it to the taxpayers of this community. I understand the math, but I question their logic during these trying economic times. To me, these officials should do what is forthright. Our founding fathers are rolling over in their graves. Give back to your community.

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