Lake Geneva Wisconsin Police and Firemen unions show their political power through the benefits they receive from taxpayers that are far superior to other city employees. The resent actions by Wisconsin Governor Walker and his republican minions only widen the inequality.
Until the action by Governor Walker et.al.; no city employees paid anything toward their health insurance or pensions. Though there is a deductible and co-pay for health care. They paid zero, nothing as a percent of their pay, with the taxpayers picking up the entire cost. Now all city employees except the police and firemen will contribute 5.8% toward their pensions and 12.6% for their health care. Police and firemen will continue to pay nothing.
The inequality of the benefits for public city employees has been biased in favor of the Police Department employees for some time. Upon retirement, employees for the city have to pick up half cost of their health insurance premiums but Police employees pay nothing.
- Police: At least age 55 with a minimum of 20 years of service: the City will pay the full amount (100%) of the single medical premium or contribute 60% of the family medical premium on behalf of the retiree until eligible for Medicare or age 65.
- Streets: At least age 55 with a minimum of 20 years of service: the City will contribute 50% of the single or family premium on behalf of the retiree until eligible for Medicare or age 65.
- Water: At least age 55 with a minimum of 15 years of service or family medical premium on behalf of the retiree for a period of 4 months. The City’s contributions, however, will not exceed Medicare or age 65.
- Exempt: At least age 55 with a minimum of 20 years of service; in return for every year of service, the City will contribute 50% of the single or family medical premium on behalf of the retiree for a one-month period. The City’s contributions, however, will not exceed Medicare or age 65.
- Note: Eligible retirees may also use the monies resulting from their unused sick days accumulated upon retirement, up to the maximum of 100 days, for continued medical coverage.
City employees and taxpayers will be in for a very rude awaking in light of the City has not been setting anything aside for future post employment health care liabilities. A recent study by an independent actuarial and employee benefits and consulting firm concluded the City should be setting aside about $384K / year since 2008 for these retiree benefits. But Finance Chairman Todd Krause continues to ignore the elephant in the room. When Alderpersons asked City Business Manager Jordan about these liabilities his quip was that other cities are in much worse shape than Lake Geneva. He is correct; unfunded governments benefit liabilities in the United States is estimated to total Over Three Trillion Dollars. Is that a good enough reason for Lake Geneva to start digging a hole though ?
On March 24th a union representing public works employees in Wisconsin’s capital city of Madison and another for firefighters and other public safety officers seek in the state court complaint filed to have the law recently passed by Governor Walker and this fellow Republicans reinvalidated.
The firefighters union said in its complaint that the law’s exemption for firefighters and police officers creates “unnecessary conflict among the employees and divisions within and among public sector labor organizations.”