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Tuesday

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City Council Looks At Health Care Again

 After more than an hourlong debate at their last meeting, city officials are going to revisit their stance on health care benefits for city employees at Tuesday’s meeting.

“My main issue with this is that all of the council people are equal representatives, and they should get equal pay,” Boydston said before the city’s Oct. 23 meeting. “If they don’t want to raise my pay, why can’t they lower their pay to match mine.”

City Council members didn’t follow either of Boydston’s suggestions, instead adopting a staff recommendation that the city continue its two-tier system. The 4-0 vote -- Boydston abstained, as a party to the issue before the council -- followed lengthy explanations behind the staff’s presentation, which was given by the city human resources and legal experts.

There were complaints from residents who alleged that the city’s change in benefits lacked the transparency necessary for such a change.
The resolution before the council Tuesday acknowledges that the change in benefits was inadvertently omitted from a 2010 budget resolution, which was where the change in benefits took place.

As a result, the new resolution, which council members will vote on Tuesday, explains the status of the city’s benefits packages.

The move is essentially a public declaration of two changes that have already been put into effect. City officials are: a) freezing the cash-in-lieu (taxable cash) amount at $1,016.58 per month for current employees hired on or before Dec. 31, 2010; and b) reducing the cash-in-lieu benefit for employees hired or re-hired after a break in service to a maximum of one-half of the lowest cost employee-only health plan, the amount which is $213.79 per month for 2011 and $214.62 for 2012.

Cash in lieu is available to employees who do not enroll in city health insurance.

Additionally, Boydston would be eligible for the same level of health benefits as his fellow council members if he chose to take benefits instead of the city’s cash-in-lieu system, which pays out the above somes in a “cafeteria-style” plan that allows employees to pick and choose how their benefits are distributed.

City Council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall on 23920 Valencia Blvd.