Two weeks ago City Council members discussed employee/retiree benefits. City retirees count on ex-Police Chief Russell Smith to speak their truths and he did not disappoint.
"I'd like to say two things. One is a reminder that up until a few years ago our benefits in this area, medical and stuff, we didn't have dental, but in medical it was the same as employees. And then a few years ago, under a different City Manager (Harold Dominguez) all that changed. I'm just trying to remind y'all that. We were paid 40-50 percent less and today you try to pay your employees 80% against those same cities. Those other people retire making 40-50% more than we do in retirement. So, y'all are already aware of this. I'm not going to beat a dead horse. The other thing I'd like to say, a 5% increase (in dental or health insurance) is big. Thank you."
Several council members asked questions about the number of retirees on the dental plan. Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Michael Dane gave a hypothetical number of 400. When pressed he said the number was surely far smaller than his example. Not one person in the room knew the number of retirees off the top of their head. None, in this day of instant information, had quick access to it. That includes two Holmes Murphy consultants engaged by the city for benefits advice, Human Resources Director Lisa Marley, Dane or Finance Director Tina Bunnell.