September 20, 2013

City School Board denies FOIL request

Members vote 6-2 in favor of keeping letter regarding health insurance from DA private


“I realize that I’m a voice in the wind, but I don’t believe that this board would be showing courage and integrity, as well as their duty to the taxpayers and voters that elected them to represent them, by denying this FOIL.”


Morris, on the other hand, pointed out that Girvin had instructed the district not to release the letter, “and we pay this gentleman an enormous amount of money to listen to his voice, and that’s the direction I’m going to go in.”

Wachtmeister also spoke before the vote, telling attendees he still believed the letter should be kept private; however, he had given additional thought to the underlying issue of employee health care and believes several questions need to be answered before the issue can be resolved. 

Among those, he said, is whether Plan B is equivalent to or better than the state’s plan and whether the board can change retiree health insurance if the switch is made for active employees.

“I believe another written opinion from the board’s attorney should be requested that would answer the question: If the board had the right to make a unilateral change and, instead, negotiated a change for monetary consideration, would that constitute a gift of public funds, which is prohibited by law,” he said.


During board member reports and remarks at the close of the meeting, Marino stated he would like information about some of the health-insurance plans the district’s taxpayers and voters have, such as the coverage provided to hospital and Georgia Pacific employees, to see how they compare to what the school provides.

Wachtmeister also requested that a motion be placed on the agenda for the board’s next meeting to switch the district’s Civil Service Employee Association and Plattsburgh Teachers’ Association members from Plan A to Plan B.

“We can have a full discussion of the issues that I think will give people a chance to vote yes or no or abstain or to table for additional information,” he said.

That meeting is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in the Duken Building at 49 Broad St.

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