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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another Town Hall Payday

Unlike most paydays in North Greenbush Town Hall, this one is likely to include those controversial insurance buyout checks to folks covered, not covered, eligible and not eligible for a 51% of premium payment for not taking the town's health insurance.

So far this year more than $28,000 has been paid to people, many of whom should not have been eligible for the payments because they are not covered in the union contract or because the contract is being interpreted unilaterally by the town supervisor without regard for any legal review or opinion on one's eligibility. Also the town board has done nothing to cause accountability of the supervisor's past actions or his future actions in disbursing the big checks or recovering funds improperly paid out. We should note that there were also questionable payments made covering last year as well as you can see in the above buy out checks to a town employee who was never even enrolled here in town because he got his insurance paid for by Troy taxpayers where he works as a full time fireman. Equally aggregious is that he was allowed to receive a buy out for the far more expensive family coverage which he was never once enrolled in! If this continues, everyone will be opting out of the the more expensive coverage claiming their mere intent to have chosen this coverage as this fellow did.

The contract approved by the town provides that those eligible to opt out of the insurance coverage will receive two equal payments equaling 51% of the total premium. Unclarified in this mess is whether the town should be forced to pay 51% of family coverage or simply individual coverage. Individual coverage costs the town a premium of about about $5000 annually while family coverage costs around $13,140.00 annually and requires an employee contribution of $333.29 a month. Some folks were allowed to opt out and receive a buy out check for the more expensive family coverage rate even though they were NEVER in the policy to begin with. This is simply an outrage which the Supervisor should never have allowed to happen but he remains in political bed with the folks in town hall, especially those in the Building Department where no one claims to be in charge and there is no management employee supervising the unionized employees.

So today it is likely that another $28,000 or so will go out the door to close out the 2008 buy outs with the town board doing nothing to stop the payments, or review them for their eligibility and propriety.
We wonder whether the vendor who is improperly on the town insurance for single coverage at $427.00 a month might decide to ask for a buy out he is not entitled to instead? Hey, why not, after all Evers and the Board by default, permitted two folks who were clearly not covered and specifically excluded from the union contract to receive buy out checks so why not a vendor, a non town employee who is improperly receiving insurance from the town, receiving a buy out check instead? Others who were not entitled to the buy out received it and he's no different other than he's not entitled to coverage at all!
We're not saying this is the case, but the way it's being managed, a term we use very loosely, what's stopping this individual from getting a buy out payment instead of coverage he isn't entitled to receive in the first place?

Should be interesting to see how Lou Desso deflects this criticism next year when he tries to run for the county legislature. The same union is in the county and we wonder if they have the same provisions, run the same way there?


Interested Party said...

The incentive is a good thing and if used for it's intent can save the Town $$ as some employees are covered by a spouse's insurance plan. However, as you stated, if the person who is employed by Troy (a firefighter I think) is collecting on one full time job he should not be offered the incentive for the (part time)2nd job- this is an abuse of this incentive and should be stopped- who has the cahonies to stop it, though- we'll see.

Anonymous said...

Buyout of health care is a good thing. abusing the government and twisting it for your own benefits is practically a national pastime. it is up to the citizens to patrol the government for abuses.

Anonymous said...

The past Republican administration under Tazbir Ashe and Styzinski did.