December 16, 2018

Motion to rescind commissioners’ health benefits dies

Posted

MIO — Commissioner Larry Wilson made a motion to do away with health insurance for commissioners at their May 8 meeting.

Wilson said his suggestion was an attempt to provide some financial relief while the county is in a budget crunch.

“We are the only county up here where the board has health benefits, that I know of,” Wilson said. “Even Alpena with all of their money doesn’t have health benefits.”

Last year Ogemaw County did away with health benefits for its commissioners. Arenac County does offer health benefits to its board members with a co-pay of less than 10 percent.

Commissioner LaNita Olsen said she believes if this were to happen the next group of people running for commissioner positions need to be aware.

“We cannot change this for ourselves,” Olsen said. “We can only set it for the next group (of commissioners). … I think we’d need to do that before they run.”

Commissioner Wayne Nutt said he thinks the health benefits are adequate compensation for the board’s time.

“We are not making a ton of money as commissioners,” Nutt said. “Those health benefits are the only ones I have for my family.”

After the meeting Commissioner Pat Kelly said he believes the board’s health benefits are deserved.

“All the commissioners put in quite an amount of hours,” Kelly said. “(Health insurance) is a perk, but I think that it’s deserved.”

Wilson’s motion was not seconded and died due to lack of support. He said he is not finished advocating for this decision.

“I didn’t get in this job for money or benefits,” Wilson said. “I did this to help people, and I have. … I think the insurance is something we need to do, but there are three people in there who are going to try and stop me. Well, I’m not going to stop.”

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Michael Howland

I agree with Larry Wilson, serving as a commissioner is something you should view as serving the community and not enriching your own self. I can see a few thousand dollars a year to cover essential expenses and the per diem should also be done away with to save money.

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