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