Sandy Springs approves well being advantages for elected officers who pay the total value

Sandy Springs will allow the city council and mayor to join the city’s health insurance plan as long as they pay 100 percent of the premiums at no cost to the city.

Councilor Chris Burnett’s proposal was unanimously adopted during a meeting on August 3rd. It followed the rejection of a proposal by Councilor Andy Bauman to provide staff with more detailed information on how these benefits are granted to elected officials.

Councilor Chris Burnett’s proposal to have elected officials pay for their own health insurance under the Sandy Springs Insurance Plan after Councilor Andy Bauman’s proposal for employees to bring back more details about the town providing these benefits failed without any support.

Bauman had initiated a discussion on compensation payments for elected officials at the council meeting on July 20, saying that this could remove a barrier to public office for some residents. He cited the need for diversity among elected officials.

Bauman submitted a comment outlining his reasons for discussing the compensation. Mayor Rusty Paul wrote his own comment in response to Bauman, saying that public service is about service.

Before the council debated the issue on August 3, city residents, including members of the Charter Review Commission and a candidate for mayor, voted for the council and mayor to be eligible for health care.

Tricia Gephardt, who served on the Charter Review Commission, said she was surprised the issue sparked so much controversy.

“If one of our elected officials has to participate in the benefits program on offer, it would be a good thing for them and I want them to be happy, healthy and able to make good decisions for our community,” she said.

Tochie Blad, vice chair of the Charter Review Commission, said the group had only proposed increases in salaries for mayor and council positions. She said chairman Jim Bostic had told them it was out of the commission’s position to propose benefits. In

“Many people feel insecure about their health insurance. I support the possibility of offering health services. This is a useful addition to the pension plan already offered and implemented by the Council, ”she said.

Dontaye Carter, who announced his candidacy for mayor in the November 2 local elections, said he came to the meeting to make sure that votes come to the table.

“I give you all the credit. What you do well, you do great. But the things that you do wrong, you really do wrong. And one of those things is these pay and benefits, ”he said.

Carter said he listened to the Charter Review Commission meetings with several councilors speaking.

“I found it insulting when I heard people say they were the conscience of the city because they knew these views didn’t reflect me, they didn’t reflect my family, and they didn’t reflect the majority of the people who live in mine Neighborhood, ”he said.

Mary Baron told the council she spoke with the Charter Review Commission to help increase the council’s salaries.

“I expressed this support not because I think that serving the council should make people rich or make it their only source of income, but because I know that inadequate compensation is an obstacle to many people Service is, ”she said.

If the city doesn’t pay people for their time as elected officials, those who don’t have the luxury of donating their time for free cannot serve, Baron said.

When Bauman made his request after a public comment, he said it was a more formal instruction for employees to provide more details. The vote would not provide any benefits.

His application failed when no council member offered to support him. A motion to table the agenda item to allow for more detailed benefit options, including providing health care services or having elected officials pay for the cost, also died for lack of a second.

Burnett made his request to allow the council and mayor to get health insurance through the city’s plan from January 2022. If you choose to participate, you must pay 100 percent of the premium.

Burnett said Bauman’s proposal would create inequality because some members could get paid health insurance and others might not.

“I think it’s important for us to be on a level playing field in terms of performance,” said Burnett.

Councilor Tibby DeJulio, who backed Burnett’s motion, said he was against putting the cost of providing these services, which are estimated at $ 94,000 to $ 160,000, on taxpayers.

“I think anything that drives the needle on these issues is a good thing. I’m not sure how useful it will be, but if it is beneficial to someone, then it is well worth the effort. Even one, ”said Bauman.

He said the more important point was that the compensation was part of a wider discussion on improving civic participation.

“One of the things we keep talking about is that it kind of keeps people from walking. And if that’s true, that’s disappointing, ”said Councilor John Paulson. He said he supported Burnett’s idea.

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