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October 7, 2013

City School insurance vote on hold

Board mulls switching employee health plan

PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh City School Board has yet to vote on whether to unilaterally change district employees’ health insurance.

Though it had the option at a recent meeting of taking action on the matter — which pertains to switching the district’s New York State United Teachers and Civil Service Employees Association members from Plan A to Plan B coverage without negotiations — the board opted not to do so.

Instead, multiple board members expressed a desire to be better informed on the topic before weighing in.

“I’d prefer to have all the information before we vote,” board member Ronald Marino said during the session.

GIFT OF PUBLIC FUNDS?

At the previous session, on Sept. 12, several questions were raised about the legality and implications of making a unilateral switch.

These included:

▶ If the board has the right to unilaterally move the district’s NYSUT and CSEA members to Plan B but does not, could that constitute a gift of public funds?

▶ If active employees are unilaterally moved to Plan B but retirees are kept on Plan A, does that constitute a gift of public funds?

▶ If employees are moved to Plan B through collective bargaining and a compensatory offering were given in exchange for the movement, could that constitute a gift of public funds?

AWAIT ANSWERS

The board also requested an analysis of how Plan B compares to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Statewide Plan since the contracts for both Plattsburgh’s NYSUT and CSEA members state their health-insurance plan must be at least equivalent to the statewide plan.

Though the district reached out to its legal counsel for answers to the board’s questions, as well as its health-care-consortium consultant for a plan comparison, it had not received responses as of its most recent meeting.

“I would reiterate the need to have the proper information available,” board member Fred Wachtmeister said during the same session.

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