Ravenna City Council is
balking at a proposal by Mayor Joseph Bica to save about $7,300 per year by eliminating life insurance coverage for some city retirees.
The city is under no obligation to continue coverage for the retirees, who are non-union employees. Life insurance is a guaranteed retirement benefit for those covered by union contracts.
Bica's proposal, which would affect 33 retirees, is not a novel one. Many private employers extend life insurance to their work force with the understanding that the benefit will end with their employment.
Council members are concerned about ending the benefit for the retirees because many of the former city employees may find it difficult to obtain life insurance because of their age.
The suggestion has been made to end the life insurance coverage carryover for future retirees, while continuing it for those who have already left city service. Dealing with future retirees ought to be pursued, but that doesn't address the issue Bica has raised as he continues to explore ways to cut costs without having to request a tax hike.
Ravenna's financial situation didn't happen overnight. One of the reasons for the budget headaches the city is now experiencing is that some city officials in the past were unable to make politically unpopular decisions and, instead, granted costly benefits such as lifetime insurance coverage for retirees without regard for their long-term financial consequences.
Not everyone is going to be happy with every decision, but not being able to say "No" can be a costly proposition.
Mayor Bica believes council's action is "fiscally irresponsible." We agree.
Part time employees like the mayor should not have insurance.