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From Elected Officials Health Insurance to Employee Raises

Yorkville leaders got sidetracked during a sometimes heated discussion Tuesday about their medical benefits.

A discussion at Tuesday’s City Council meeting began with elected officials health insurance and ended with a decision to add $150,000 to the proposed budget for employee raises.

must be defined six months before they are elected, so any changes would not go into effect until after the 2013 election. About $150,000 for elected officials health insurance in the fiscal year starting May 1, so the employee raises eat away at the projected budget surplus.

Yorkville city employees have not received a raise in four years.

Aldermen put off approving the budget draft for at least two weeks. They voted to table it until their April 10 meeting.

Ward 1 Alderman George Gilson Jr. was listing concerns with the city’s long-term budget plan when Ward 2 Alderman Larry Kot challenged Gilson to opt out of the city’s medical plans. Kot plans to opt out July 1, so he suggested the city could afford a $126,000 fix for a flooding issue in Sunflower Estates if Gilson also declined city medical benefits.

“Right now, anyone can opt out and voluntarily save the city money,” Kot said.

Gilson said the city was wasting money on projects such as bike trails, the REC Center and a $100,000 road maintenance study.

Ward 2 Alderman Jackie Milschewski said the road study benefitted the entire community, while Gilson’s insurance benefitted only him, his family and his employer.

Gilson said giving up the city’s medical benefits would have a minimal financial impact on his family nor his employer. He also called being an alderman “a second full-time job.”

“I volunteered to do this, and I love it,” Gilson said. “But please don’t call this a part-time job. After adding up the hours I put into public service, my pay comes out to be about $3 per hour. And by the way, I pay part of my premiums like the rest of the employees. This isn’t free health care.”

Meanwhile, Ward 4 Alderman Rose Spears said the issue was politically motivated. She pointed to Ward 4 Alderman Diane Teeling and former Ward 3 Alderman Robyn Sutcliff claiming last year that they did not realize how much the insurance coverage cost the city. However, both sat on the city’s Administration Committee (Sutcliff was the chair), which handled the city insurance plans, Spears said.

“Either they are not doing their job and paying attention to what is being discussed during the meeting, or just like I said it’s politically motivated,” Spears said.

Both Sutcliff and Teeling also supported former Mayor Valerie Burd, who from the city from 2007 to 2011. Toward the end of her term, Burd was treated for breast cancer.

Sutcliff received $38,698 in city medical benefits from 2008 to 2011, while Teeling received about $2,000 in medical benefits from 2009 to 2011, according to information Patch received through the Freedom of Information Act.

In August, Ward 1 Alderman Carlo Colosimo, Gilson, Spears, Kot, Ward 3 Aldermen Chris Funkhouser and Marty Munns and City Clerk Beth Warren were receiving some or all of the city’s medical benefits, according to information Patch received through the Freedom of Information Act.

debbie granat March 28, 2012 at 12:14 PM
“I volunteered to do this, and I love it,” Gilson said. “But please don’t call this a part-time job. After adding up the hours I put into public service, my pay comes out to be about $3 per hour. And by the way, I pay part of my premiums like the rest of the employees.So which is it? In this comment you call it "volunteering,public service,and a full time job" it CANNOT be all 3 ! These days even full time jobs often don't offer insurance!
Hypocrite George March 28, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Not only is this guy against everything unless it directly benefits him and his family, he can't even do simple math. His total compensation for being a part time elected official is $31,000 ($25,000 for health insurance and $6,000 salary). If his pay comes out $3.00 an hour like he claims, that means he puts in 28 hours a day 365 days a year for his "public service". What an embarrassment to this city he is.
Robyn Sutcliff March 29, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I see the total paid to Robyn Sutcliff's medical benifits are posted here. I would like to see all totals. Current aldermen included. While being the Chairman of the Administration Committee I oversaw the overall benefit amount. At no time did the staff itemize the expenditures by staff and elected officials. I encourage the current administration to focus on the present and future and not the past which can't be changed and which has no impact on this budget.
justsayin March 29, 2012 at 05:29 PM
" Ward 4 Alderman Rose Spears said the issue was politically motivated" she's an elected official.....They are all elected officials........polictical motivation isn't the elephant in the room here Rose it seems to be you and George.
Jillian Duchnowski March 29, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Robyn, You can see the totals for medical benefit payments for elected officials broken down by elected official (through Aug. 31) on this article: http://patch.com/A-kTVv
The Fighting Fox March 29, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Ever since I first heard about this issue it has not ceased to amaze me how the Aldermen who claim to be the most “fiscally conservative” will fight to the bitter end to get a nickel spent upon themselves, while trashing spending on projects and initiatives that potentially benefit the entire community. Credit has to be given to Alderman Kot who has voluntarily decided to opt out of the health insurance. Alderman Kot quietly doing the right thing shows strength of character that Spears and Gilson will never display with their defiant grandstanding, and incessant complaining. It would be nice to think that someday Spears and Gilson might understand that claiming to be “fiscally conservative” doesn’t mean that they get to spend upon themselves at the expense of everyone else.
Hypocrite George March 29, 2012 at 10:51 PM
“I volunteered to do this, and I love it,” Gilson said. Volunteer - a person who does some act or enters into a transaction without being under any legal obligation to do so and without being promised any remuneration for his services. Hypocrite - a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. Grandstand - to conduct oneself or perform showily or ostentatiously in an attempt to impress onlookers. Well, at least 2 out of the three definitions define Gilson.
It all comes out in the wash March 30, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Both Rose and George are Hypocrites. All should opt out period. Now you think it's fair that others do it for the elected salary and those who opt in get 5 times more. As in George's case. Larry hats off to you and for challenging the mouth of the house..... and you have the nerve to tell volunteers NO while you suck the tax payers. Watch the video from last March when this was brought up. Mouth of the house had their head burried and not a peep. Grandstander.
It all comes out in the wash March 30, 2012 at 02:05 AM
I watched the council meeting only to listen to Rose blow her smoke screen nonsense and then assume and accuse people when this is about TODAY Rose and OUR taxes. It not about any former mayor, aldreman...get a grip. Never once were you honest about this. My name is what it is because of this issue PERIOD. Your condescending sitting up there and rude to people who make 1/2 what you do and lack professionalism. Jackie, you hit the nail on the head to bad Rose wasn't listening. Rose, this has nothing to do with anything but the simple fact we asked YOU all to OPT OUT and you didn't. Then you hid the truth like your buddy. Your national Enq reporter keep the TAX payers informed.
It all comes out in the wash March 30, 2012 at 02:55 AM
One more comment about Rose and her references, the legal fee you discussed were because of you and others that hid it for 4 months not the people seeking the truth.
Hypocrite George March 31, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Hypocricy must run in the family. It's funny watching mommy & daddy Gilson write letters to the editor in The Kendall County Record knocking other Alderman. But they sure won't knock thier Georgie Boy who is sucking off of the taxpayers teet by taking taxpayer funded health insurance when he can get it through his employer. I don't know how some people can look themselves in the mirror. The apple don't fall far from the tree.

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