Hannan Adley of the Journal News has published a brilliant story: In New Rochelle, five years in office gets health insurance in retirement. This is now the second time this year that the Journal News has scored with an article based on a FOIL request (the other was the security camera issue at the New Rochelle Public Library).
According to the article, no one seems to know when Joe Fosina, Fran Judge, Ruth Kitchen, Chris Selin, and Beuenia Brown are receiving taxpayer-funded health insurance. Kathy Gilwit is quoted saying "This practice had been in effect as long as anyone can remember until amended in 1998 to require an 18 percent contribution". Really? NO ONE KNOWS? I'll bet a nickel Len Paduano knows. I'll bet people who changed the practice to require that 18% contribution know. And I have little doubt that Joe Fosina, Fran Judge, Ruth Kitchen, Chris Selin, and Beuenia Brown know. That they are not quoted in the article speaks volumes.
Fosina, Judge, Kitchen and Selin paid nothing into the plan, Brown pays the 18% contribution. The insurance for the five costs $28,166 a year.
All of this is in addition to the taxpayer-funded health insurance for Mayor Noam Bramson and current members of the City Council which costs $83,853. Altogether, the premiums total $112,019 a year. Council members are also paid a "stipend" Of $32,000 a year. Shouldn't this stipend be used to pay for insurance, if they want it? Instead the one council person who has opted out and has private insurance gets PAID for opting out.
The article contains this whopper from Chuck Strome:
City council members and the mayor are not defined as either full time or part time employees, but typically put in more than part time hours, said City Manager Charles Strome.
And another whopper from Noam Bramson:
Bramson said the health benefits were warranted because elected officials worked full-time hours and should be treated like other employees in terms of benefits.
"On a personal basis, and this is true of every past mayor I've known, the responsibilities of this office demand at least a full-time commitment and often much more," said Bramson, who makes $88,971 a year.
If all these people are full-time then why are paying Chuck Strome to run the City? Is New Rochelle so large that we need to have a full-time City manager, full-time department heads AND a full-time Mayor and a full-time City Council?
This is total baloney.
Talk of the Sound reported on this malarkey over a year ago:
The "Mystery Solved" article contains the employment form completed by Mayor Bramson in which he checked the "part-time" box. If there is "confusion" on whether the Mayor and City Council members are full-time or part-time employees then why did Bramson check "part-time"? If he did check "part-time" why is he getting a $15,000 a year insurance package? Does the $45,000 a year from Nita Lowey have anything to do with this?