Who owes whom?

Former Lysander councilor questions supervisor’s eligibility for receiving opt-out insurance bonus

Former Lysander town councilor Russ Johnson is questioning the eligibility of Supervisor John Salisbury’s receipt of an insurance “opt out” bonus of more than $5,000. His concerns were raised at his last board meeting in December as an active town councilor.

At the January 2013 organizational meeting, the town board unanimously passed a resolution to amend its employee handbook with a health insurance buyout clause — employees that could prove they were already insured had the choice of turning down the town’s insurance coverage and as an incentive, receive 50 percent of the coverage premium, paid out over 12 months.

The town has two insurance options, one is with the Teamsters Local Union 317, a contract that has been in effect since 2009 and ends in June; the other is with the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP), a plan mainly used by retirees. The compensation, however, matches the Teamsters premium, said Town Comptroller Dave Rahle. Salisbury’s position is not listed as an eligible recipient for that particular coverage, said local union representative Steve Powers..

“When we did the participation agreement in 2009, there were positions that weren’t included,” Powers said. “[Barry] Bullis was supervisor at the time, and they wrote his position out because he didn’t need it.”

According to the 2013 Insurance Buy-Out report that the Messenger obtained through Johnson, Salisbury has received $5,082.50 to date. Total potential payout is listed as $6,955, with $1,872.50 slated as payment from October through December.

“On page one of the monthly participation agreement, which is attached to the contract, it specifically spells out those individuals, by position, who are part of this contract, who would be getting health benefits. The eligible folks,” Johnson said. “The town supervisor is not one of them.

“My argument is that board members and supervisors — I’d like to say they’re employees but they’re really public officers and you have to live by a higher standard — if you’re going to be given a penny more than what is articulated in the budget prior to the election, you have to account for that. Under no authority does he have the right to take — unilaterally — money and put it in his pocket from the taxpayers. It’s the height of hypocrisy when we just had three board members give the biggest tax increase in Lysander town history — with Reeves and Shimer and Salisbury — and it’s a shock to the conscience.

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marvan 11 months, 2 weeks ago

If I am reading this right no one is eligible for a buyout right? If the named positions have to participate and the un-named positions can't participate no buyout period! I think the people that got any money for this should be mandated to pay it back. This is the TAXPAYER's money so give it back now!


VillagePeople 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow, Lysander taxpayers are pretty generous to offer such a huge payout. I wonder if we saved any money on this buyout because it sounds like it is costing us more than if they were on the insurance.


VillagePeople 11 months, 1 week ago

I wonder if the new board members would have voted to approve this? Everyone who approved this resolution should be embarrassed and ashamed as there was no tax saving in this for any of the taxpayers and is a shocking transfer of wealth from the taxpayers to the fortunate few who collected on it. Would love to see the numbers on how much money was wasted.


marvan 11 months, 1 week ago

Village, it is easy to get the figures by FOILing them. If you do please post them so others can enjoy the screwing they are getting!


VillagePeople 11 months, 1 week ago

marvan - I am hopeful this will be addressed by the board but if not I may have to do as you suggest.


marvan 11 months ago

This group of Clowns leading the town are the lowest of low! You better believe they will do anything to milk the people of Lysander of their tax dollars! They need to go!


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