Okay, it might be difficult for you to believe that a meeting of the city's Insurance and Claims Committee would be interesting, but the ongoing struggle between Middletown's Republican Mayor, and its Democratically-controlled Common Council manifested itself on a table filled with actuarial tables and insurance claims.
Common Council member Hope Kasper has questioned the Mayor's declared authority on making decisions about insurance policies and use of the city's insurance funds.
As a member of the Insurance and Claims Committee, Kasper has declared her opposition to Mayor Sebastian Giuliano's decision to move city employees from a fully-insured health-care program, to a self-insured plan administered by an insurance company. Kasper was one of several Democratic Common Council members to adopt a resolution to force the plan to be reviewed by the Insurance and Claims Committee.
That review happened Monday night when representatives of Segal Benefits, Compensation and HR Consulting appeared to explain that the self-insured option was recommended because comparative yearly costs would be approximately $345,000 less, and the city could save even more in a year when claims are low. The plan does come with some risks. If claims are higher than expected, the city is expected to make up the difference, up to set limit.
Kasper, who refers to a failed attempt by the city to self-insure in year's past, expressed the opinion that the risk was too great in difficult economic times.
Kasper also questioned why the city attorney approved the use of municipal insurance funds to pay attorney fees associated with the city's ongoing legal battles with the Board of Education. Kasper indicated that approximately $22,000 of insurance claim funds have been expended.
These funds were used after the city tried, and failed, to file a claim for attorney fees stating that the lawsuit between the city and the BOE was a liability claim.
Kasper feels that the funds should come from elsewhere in the city budget and should be restored to the claims fund. If the fund is not restored, Kaper plans to submit a resolution to the Common Council that fund restoration occur.