Friday, September 11, 2009

Why do we pay for politicians' life insurance?

The City of Toledo has the following ordinance on the agenda for next week:

Authorizing the Mayor to enter into a contract with Consumers Life Insurance Company to provide group term life insurance for the City of Toledo Exempt employees, Mayor, City Council, Municipal Court Judges, Clerk of Court, Municipal Court employee’s, Police Command Officers, Fire Chief’s, and Teamsters: such contract shall contain terms and conditions deemed proper and requisite according to the Director of Law and the Mayor, and authorizing the expenditure of funds in the amount of sixty eight thousand, seven hundred nineteen dollars and ninety cents ($68,719.90) per annum for the life insurance program; and declaring an emergency.

In order to maintain a beneficial service on behalf of City of Toledo employees (Exempt employees, Mayor, City Council, Municipal Court Judges, Clerk of Court, Municipal Court employees, Police Command Officers, Fire Chiefs, and Teamsters), it is necessary to enter into a contract to provide group term life insurance services.

Toledo is not the only municipality to do this - many do, including (the last time I checked) Lucas County.

But why?

I realize it's a benefit for the exempt employees, but have we ever actually used it? And have we used it to the point that we can afford to spend roughly $70,000 per year for it?

While it's not enough to address an $8 million budget deficit, it's the principle of continuing to pay for things that are unnecessary and really provide no true value to the taxpayers.

The only way an employee would actually 'benefit' from this provision is to die. And most exempt employees probably have their own life insurance policies for their families. I'm certain no employee relies upon this benefit as the only recompense for their families upon their death.

So what does it gain us, as taxpayers, to continue to provide this 'benefit' to certain employees?

Do you believe the claim that it's necessary in order to attract good employees? I don't. I don't think that the presence or absence of a life insurance policy paid for by the government is enough of an incentive to make a potential employee choose the city over any other employer. Nor is it enough of an incentive to make an employee with another offer actually stay with the city.

So it's a nice thing to do for our exempt workers in government. That's great! Except that the city doesn't have the financial wherewithal to actually do something 'nice' while eliminating necessities - like police officers.

Furthermore, please note that the elected officials are getting this benefit!!!! Are the finances in the city really sufficient that we can afford this perk for the elected 'servants'???

Even if you believe this is a necessity for exempt employees, do you believe the elected officials need to have us pay for a life insurance policy for them and their families should they die?

Taxpayers need to be aware of the 'benefits' we provide our public servants, which is why I've posted so often on the health insurance and PERS pickups. We also need to insist that unnecessary perks are eliminated.

It is not the role of government to pay for life insurance policies for elected officials - especially when they're considering raising fees, trash taxes and other 'revenue enhancements' to cover basic - and mandatory - services.

Call City Council today and tell them to eliminate all elected officials from this ordinance. The phone number is 419-245-1050.

And pay special attention to how they respond - remember, the at-large seats are up for election!


James said...

Anyone who started to put $50 a month away at age 25 would have plenty of "insurance" money at age 50 to help with burial expenses at the age of 50. And if they keep doing it for 10 more years to age 60, they will have more than enough. You could put the money into CDs in the bank and kept making more money with interest. I've learned this from having an evaluation done on my own life insurance policy, which sucks.

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


It's part of the union contracts, soo. . .

Maggie Thurber said...

Hooda - yep... the union contracts...but at least in those contracts the city/taxpayers have gotten some concession in exchange for that benefit ... supposedly....

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