Pressure Does Work; Passaic Councilmembers Rescind Benefits.

16 08 2007

MEREDITH MANDELL – HERALD NEWS

Passaic, NJ – The Passaic City Council finally mustered enough votes Thursday to rescind a resolution that gives themselves and the mayor post-retirement medical benefits after 15 years of service instead of the requisite 25 years for the city’s nearly 700 employees.

The unanimous vote by six council members at a special meeting called at 8:45 a.m., capped what had been several weeks of intense public scrutiny over the council’s original passage of the resolution in May. Councilman Gerardo Fernandez was absent from the meeting.

The resolution, passed in May, authorized the city through the State Employee Health Benefits Program to pay for the premiums of elected officials and their spouses.

The resolution could have meant thousands of dollars a year in savings for the part-time elected officials. Employees who retire and do not meet the years of service requirement must pay monthly premiums ranging from $364 to more than $1,800, depending on their level of coverage, according to the state’s Division of Pensions and Benefits.

Last week, a vote to rescind the resolution failed in a 3-3 deadlock with Councilwoman Maritza Colon-Montanez abstaining. Colon-Montanez cast her yes vote without comment Thursday.

Council President Gary Schaer called the special meeting after he failed to get council members to rescind the May resolution at last week’s regularly scheduled council meeting. Schaer, also a state assemblyman, called the original resolution an “egregious error” and promised to put forth a resolution to rescind it in response to inquiries by the Herald News two weeks ago.

“I’m very pleased that the people who didn’t agree to rescind before recognized the importance of doing it,” he said. “It’s a good vote for the people of Passaic.”

Mayor Samuel Rivera, 60, who has 18 years of public service, said last week that his business administrator put forth the initial resolution to help him. Rivera was out of the country and unavailable for comment Thursday.

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2 responses

23 08 2007
jones

too late, the damage is already done. just like many of their other decisions made without too much thought. Now we know the real reason why they became city council members. Every year our taxes go up.

11 01 2008
Obama's racist letter

Obama wrote a racist letter,it is now on e-bay under search words :racist letter

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