RE: Health insurance benefits for DB Commissioners
This is regarding the Oct. 7 [commission] meeting agenda item for changes to retired commissioner’s health insurance payments and commissioner compensation.
A city such as Deerfield Beach benefits from the participation of qualified individuals in city government. Ideally, short terms and term limits help provide for a regular cycling of the politicians in this city to avoid “dynasties” from coming into power.
Service as a commissioner or mayor is voluntary and should not be done for the money or salary of the job.
For this reason, compensation should be minimal and not have long-term beneficial payments in the form of pensions or lifetime health insurance.
Lifetime benefits to commissioners or the mayor is expensive and beyond the reach of city budgets. At least one city commissioner benefits from a city pension resulting from his full-time job with the city for years, which he earned, so further benefits are redundant.
Lifetime benefits that include health insurance can cost upwards of $700 per individual per month, depending on age and health status.
Especially detrimental to the city budget process is lifetime payments to younger politicians where the benefit may result in payments for over 20 or 30 years. Remember, current provisions pay the commissioner’s spouse the same lifetime health benefits.
Payments as currently in place also provide for commissioner benefits that are not available to city employees and may result in problems with union and employee bargaining where such limitless benefits may be sought by collective bargaining units.
Long-term benefits, pensions and health insurance for city commissioners are wrong and should be discontinued immediately.
This public service should come from dedicated city residents who have a desire to help the city, not for commissioners who took the oath of office for a job or pension.
Payment of excessive salaries and benefits make this a job, not public service.
Also at the [Sept. 15] commission meeting, several commissioners stated that they receive “part-time pay for fulltime works”.
This statement shows the failure of the commission to act in a decisive and fair manner with respect to city management. Commissioners are there to set policy. Daily operation of the city is the full- time responsibility of the city manager. The current city manager, this may come as a surprise to many residents, has never been evaluated in his performance of running our city. In fact, when I questioned city officials, I find that no one in the city is “evaluated” in his or her performance on the job. Any employee for any company deserves a fair and regular evaluation. How else can an employee know he or she is doing what is expected of them? When a city commissioner or mayor has to get involved with regular day-to-day city issues, it reflects negatively on city management. In fact, if a commissioner has to work full-time, as some have stated, it suggests that the city manager and his staff are not performing in accordance with the expectation of the city commission, and the system has failed us.
In a properly-run city, political service is ceremonial as stated in part in the city charter, not a regular functioning job description.
It is not a full-time job!
If commissioners or the mayor are being forced into fulltime work, the city is failing at its job, in the eyes of the residents. Ask any resident who has been forced to complain to a commissioner and you will find it is an issue with how the city staff has handled a particular complaint.
It’s well past the time to initiate an employee evaluation procedure that starts with the city manager.
How many city residents have ever worked at a full-time job that did not perform regular employee evaluations? You can be sure that none of the professional-run city businesses in our town neglect or ignore the importance of regular employee evaluations.
Ronald J. Coddington, P.E.
Local activism group Deerfield Dreams
Are you interested in helping to make Deerfield Beach a better place to live?
Deerfield Dreams is an experiment in local activism. The idea is to create a new forum for neighbors to get together to make our city a better place.
This gathering is not political in nature. The goal is to come up with good ideas through brainstorming, to gather support, and to create a plan for implementing them. It is an exciting opportunity for residents to be an active part of improving our city in a less formalized environment.
We hope to see you at our next meeting on Saturday, Oct.11 at 10 a.m. at the Old Schoolhouse at City Hall.
Join the Dream Team! Please bring a pen, notebook paper, and any fresh ideas you might have. See you there!