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Yorkville Releases Costs for Elected Officials' Health Insurance

The city is spending more money on health insurance for its elected officials as more choose to use employee medical, dental or vision coverage.

Yorkville has spent more than $250,000 on health, dental and vision insurance for its elected officials in the past four years, according to information Yorkville Patch received through a Freedom of Information Act request.

City officials declined to release which elected officials chose to use city medical benefits, citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Yorkville Patch is asking the state’s public access counselor to review that decision.

However, city officials did reveal that the city paid $71,854.86 for health insurance for six elected officials and their dependents in the most recent fiscal year. Seven elected officials chose to use the city’s dental and vision insurance, for a cost to the city of $7,599.96 and $1,099.44, respectively.

The issue surfaced last month as Ward 4 Alderman Diane Teeling suggested looking at the policy before the next election.

Three of the 11 elected officials used health, dental and vision insurance in fiscal year 2007-2008, which cost the city $46,227.92, according to the FOIA response. The total cost increased to $56,025.36 in 2008-2009 and $78,818.64 in 2009-2010. (For more details, see the FOIA response attached as a PDF to this article.)

These benefits are optional and are offered on top of the . 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. If they attend two meetings a month, the mayor receives about $910 a month and each alderman is paid $500 a month.

If they choose to take the medical benefits, elected officials pay a portion of the premiums. For the fiscal year starting Sunday, May 1, an official would pay $41 a month toward the $467.06 monthly premium for employee-only HMO health insurance. An official would pay $90 toward the $1,462.04 monthly premium for family HMO coverage. Those figures do not include premiums for dental or vision insurance.

Aldermen voted, 7-1, in March 2007 to give elected officials access to medical benefits available to city employees. Before voting, a handful of aldermen stated the medical benefits might encourage more people to run for those offices, according to the March 13, 2007, meeting minutes.  

Voting to allow elected officials access to medical benefits were then-aldermen:

• Joe Besco (Ward 4)
• Jason Leslie (Ward 1)
• Gary Golinski (Ward 2)
• Paul James (Ward 1)
• Marty Munns (Ward 3)
• Valerie Burd (Ward 2)
• Rose Ann Spears (Ward 4)

Alderman James Bock (Ward 3) cast the lone nay vote.

The vote took place about a month before the 2007 local election, when three of the seven local races each had three candidates. The other four races each had two candidates.

The 2009 local races had a three-way race for Ward 1 aldermen and two candidates competing for Ward 2 aldermen. Ward 3 Alderman Marty Munns and Ward 4 Alderman Diane Teeling did not face opponents.

In the most recent election, the races for city clerk and treasurer were uncontested. Each of the four open aldermen seats had two candidates. Three candidates were listed on the ballot for mayor, although Robert Gryder publicly withdrew from the race weeks before Election Day.

 

Here's a chart of the city's costs for elected officials' health, dental and vision insurance:

Fiscal year Cost 2007-08  $46,227.92 2008-09  $56,025.36 2009-10  $78,818.64 2010-11  $80,554.26 Total  $261,626.18
The Fighting Fox May 13, 2011 at 04:53 PM
These amounts, assuming they are correct, are escalating at a staggering rate. We will never really be able to know but, maybe the insurance was really the motivating factor for so many of these councilmen/women that fought so aggressively for their positions. I really wish I had known about this back in March before the election. It is a terrible disservice to the people of Yorkville that this was not discussed or debated during the election. This is a real issue of governmental excess going on in small community not just a debate about how we should spend our money like the Rec Center debate or the bike trail referendum that burned up these comment threads during that time.
It all comes out in the wash May 13, 2011 at 06:42 PM
These amounts came from the city as a result of the FOIA process. We all need to show up at the council meetings and let them know this is unacceptable. No Council should have the right to self impose a benefit for themselves and then ignore this financial issues this city is having. Then not to step up and do the right thing. See if you can get anyone of them to tell you if they are participating. I do not call this being honest with the people of this city. If they don't want to do the right thing and get this on a ballot in order for the people to vote then there is the process of a Petition. We do not have to accept this as they all raised their right h and took an oath of office. We need to hold them accountable to this oath and the people of this city.
Tom Joad May 13, 2011 at 07:46 PM
Thanks for keeping us informed, and keep up the good work. If there are 6 people in the new group at city hall that opted in, after all this discussion that’s the definition of arrogant.
Todd Milliron May 13, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Here is the FOIA form for City of Yorkville = http://www.yorkville.il.us/documents/FOIAFormforWebsite_000.pdf The June 2011 City of Yorkville Employee Benefits Bill for Health, Dental, Vision and Life Ins. is received usually by the 20th to 25th of (May) the preceding Month. These are all bills the taxpayer pays and is something that one can ask for by filing an FOIA request. I would ask for April, May and June so you can review the turnover and new adds. One only needs to fill out the above form and make the FOIA request for these monthly bills, then you may be able recognize 6 of the 11 names for these elected official's group benefit bills you are paying for. Please also note that the City switched to an HRA (Health Reimbursement Account) arrangement last year that provides $2000 of "First Dollar" (No Deductible and Taxpayer funded) coverage, at the minimum that could potentially be another $12,000 to $24,000 of additional expense depending on utilization by the 6 elected Yorkville official(s) / family. The HRA has not been calculated in the prior post's estimate of cost to taxpayer. When making that FOIA request also ask for the Outline of Benefits for Health, Life, Vision and Dental along with HRA written arrangement that dove tails with the City's Employee Benefits Insurance program. Another item to ask for would be a copy of the master group agreements for each line of coverage & check eligible employee class for who is entitled to group benefits.
It all comes out in the wash May 13, 2011 at 10:08 PM
I've been waiting to hear from you Todd. Thanks for all the information. I've spent hours reading lots of minutes and listening to many of the Audios of the meetings. The 3 hour Feb Admin meeting almost did me in. Thanks again

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