Government-paid health insurance a perk for some local elected officials
Do elected officials around Fayette County participate in the healthcare coverage available to staff? The answer is that elected officials in Peachtree City, Tyrone and the Fayette County Board of Education are not eligible for healthcare coverage while those in Fayetteville and Fayette County can participate, and several opt to have the coverage.
Though all elected officials are eligible, only Fayetteville Mayor Greg Clifton and Councilman Paul Oddo participate in the city’s healthcare plan while Fayette County Commissioner Charles Oddo is the only commissioner on the county’s healthcare plan.
Clifton pays $186.79 per month for single coverage health insurance. Fayetteville has several plans available and Clifton is on the low end of the coverage menu, according to city finance staff.
Councilman Paul Oddo has family coverage near the middle of the menu options and pays $388.41 per month.
City Manager Ray Gibson said it is not a conflict of interest for council members to be eligible for the city’s healthcare plan.
“It’s outlined in our administrative policy that they can apply for the plan,” Gibson said. “With the small compensation they receive it’s the right thing to do.”
Gibson said city staff, along with the insurance broker, narrows down the potential healthcare providers to the top three or four then presents their top choice to the council. The other plans are also provided as options for the council to consider, Gibson said.
Gibson said there is no price break for elected officials who opt to have the healthcare benefit.
While Fayette County commissioners are eligible for the county’s healthcare plan, only Commissioner Charles Oddo participates. Oddo and his spouse are covered under the plan and pay a monthly premium of $198.17.
County Administrator Steve Rapson said healthcare benefits to elected officials is another form of compensation, one for which they pay their equivalent share like the other employees.
“There’s no enriched plan because they are elected,” Rapson said.
Rapson said that, while commissioners vote on the plan, the process that leads to a recommendation does not include them. That process, said Rapson, involves a Request for Proposal and a healthcare broker who works with staff.
Several healthcare providers make presentations to departments heads and other county staff who, in turn, make a recommendation to the commission. Commissioners are not involved in the discussions between healthcare providers and staff, said Rapson.
“(Commissioners) vote on the staff recommendation but are not involved in the process,” said Rapson.
Elected officials in Tyrone and Peachtree City are not eligible for healthcare coverage. The same applies to members of the Fayette County Board of Education.