FLINT TWP. — The third time proved not to be charmed for a proposal from Trustee Frank Kasle to require that full-time board trustees pay 20 percent of their health care premiums, effective in November.
In a 5-2 vote, the board opted to postpone a decision until the new board is seated after the Nov. election. Kasle and Trustee George Menoutes voted against putting off the decision.
Kasle first proposed the premium up-charge about a month ago when the board voted unanimously to stop paying all health benefits for its four part-time trustees, also effective in November.
Kasle then proposed the 20 percent premium contribution for the board’s three full-time trustees – the supervisor, clerk and treasurer.
Citing Senate Bill 7, which is now Public Act 152, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in September, requiring public employees to pay up to 20 percent of health insurance costs, Kasle said many other municipalities have already imposed the 20 percent rate.
Considering the townships finances, he called township health care costs “generous” and said that he knows of no other municipality providing zero cost on prescriptions and that only this year began requiring employees to pay five percent of health care premiums.
“The point of all this is that everybody on this board needs to set an an example,” Kasle said. “… I don’t see how we can continue to have the kind of health insurance we have which is very expensive.”
His proposal drew support and objections from members of the audience during public comment.
One said it was unfair to require the board to pay 20 percent while other full-time employees are only paying five percent toward health care costs.
Another opponent said raising health care rates could make it harder to attract qualified candidates to public office.
A supporter of the measure that elected officials are unionized and therefore not entitled to the same benefits union employees have such as paying only five percent health care costs.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller noted that the new public employee health care law allows any board to opt out of stipulated cost and do what they see as the best fit for their employees.
She made the motion, seconded by Clerk Kim Courts, to postpone a decision on Kasle’s proposal until the new board is seated in November.