Written by Kelly Kaczala
July 10, 2009
Jerusalem Township trustees recently reinstated health insurance coverage for elected officials and full-time employees, which they had just dropped in May.
Trustees Joe Gray, Rodney Graffis, and Joe Kiss voted to bring back coverage for those who want it, but at a reduced cost.
It was an about face for Gray and Graffis, who had voted to drop coverage at a meeting on March 24 to save the township $50,000 per year. Kiss had voted to continue coverage, but was outvoted.
Kiss, Fiscal Officer Julie Van Nest, and two full-time employees in the maintenance department will now be covered by Aetna, while Graffis and Gray opted out.
“I did research on it and found another policy that is cheaper,” said Graffis. “Actually, I wanted to wait and see if anyone else – those who were screaming the loudest about dropping it – was going to do any research on it to get insurance. Nobody did. So I took it upon myself to do that. Kiss was screaming the loudest about the whole thing, but he chose not to do one ounce of research at all. Maybe he did for himself, but he didn’t try to do anything for the township. He ran on fiscal responsibility when he ran for election. I would think fiscal responsibility would be saving money. He didn’t do that.”
The township is paying for single coverage for elected officials and employees, he said. “If they chose to insure their spouse or families, the township is going to pay for the first $125 towards that. Then they are to pick up the rest of it on their own. It’s a shared policy,” said Graffis.
Trustees held a special meeting last Tuesday to pay the first health insurance premium. The coverage became effective July 1, said Graffis.
Kiss dismissed Graffis’s effort to reinstitute health care coverage for the township.
“He can have all the glory because he and Joe Gray are the ones who voted to get rid of it. They were going to be the ones who voted it back in because neither one ever votes with me,” said Kiss.
In addition, Kiss said he had brought up the possibility of getting health coverage back at trustee meetings, but Graffis and Gray had shot down his attempts.
“I asked to revisit it twice in open meetings. But they denied my requests. They brought it back because it’s an election year and they were catching a lot of heat from the public,” said Kiss.
Graffis’s and Gray’s employers provide them with health care insurance.