By Diane Smith | staff writer
The city of Ravenna won’t be cutting off life insurance to some of its longtime employees, a move that Mayor Joseph Bica called “fiscally irresponsible.”
City administration had approached City Council’s Finance Committee about discontinuing life insurance to people who retired from non-union jobs in the city. Bica pointed out that while life insurance after retirement is a guaranteed benefit in the city’s union contracts, the city has no such obligation to offer the benefit to non-union workers.
Finance Director Kim Cecora said that the move would save the city $8,600 per year, but the city’s costs would go up by $1,300 because the pool of insured people would be smaller, resulting in a net savings of $7,300.
About 33 retirees would be affected, some of whom have been retired for more than a dozen years, he said. The insurance is mentioned in the city’s payroll ordinance as far back as the 1970s.
But council members said they were concerned about taking away a benefit the city’s retirees currently enjoy.
Councilwoman Sharon Spencer said she would have no problem with a policy that stopped the life insurance for those who retire in the future.
“But I would have a problem with up and taking it away,” she said, adding that it is difficult for people to obtain insurance once they reach a certain age. “I would feel bad if this was the only policy they had.”
Bica criticized the decision to remove the insurance only from future retirees, saying the city had calculated those savings into a longterm plan to cut expenses.
“I will go on the record as saying that I feel this is fiscally irresponsible,’ he said. “I feel it is not the correct move.”
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