Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Did Harold's Longmont Offer Come from Stiffing Retirees?

San Angelo City Manager Harold Dominguez is the top candidate for Longmont, Colorado's City Manager slot.  He has a month to negotiate a favorable contract though Longmont's headhunter, appropriately titled Slavin Management Consultants.  Many City of San Angelo jobs appear to pay "slavin" wages

This isn't a new phenomenon, given city workers slaved for decades under pitiful wages, all for the promise of lifetime health insurance coverage.  Harold significantly eroded this benefit for the city's early retirees.  He characterized federal money, intended to help keep insurance affordable for early retirees, as "iffy" and "problematic, one time funds."  .

The City refused to use ERRP funds during 2011, when dependent premiums rose from 36 to 58%.  Those increases sent nearly 200 people from the rolls of the insured.

Harold will apply ERRP funds in 2012 in order to "reduce federal strings."  Expending ERRP funds, in a year where the city expects major savings from an exclusive provider arrangement, appears to violate the one string that employers maintain their level of contribution toward health insurance.

Longmont proposed changing its retirement plan for city workers, making it far less generous.  How did the December 2011 City Council vote go?  Also, Longmont received nearly $200,000 in ERRP money.  How might Harold put his signature stamp on it?

According to retired police chief Russell Smith, a number of San Angelo's early retirees have to choose between medicine and food, as health insurance premiums exploded under a fixed income.  The lucky ones found a new job to pay for their health insurance.  The unlucky?  They may be happy to see Harold go.

"I think the future's bright for Longmont," he (Harold Dominguez) said. "I'm excited about the opportunity to be considered and to be part of that future."

Longmont City Employees should do their research.  Slavin could be their retirement future, which might not be so bright under Harold.

Update 1-27-12:  Harold accepted Longmont's offer. He's ready to move Longmont forward, likely at the expense of retirees. 

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