In 2005, I was surprised to discover that Clark County employees contributed nothing to insurance premiums for medical, dental, vision, long-term disability and life insurance.
Citizens urged Clark County Commissioners Stuart, Boldt and former Commissioner Morris to consider that this was no longer the norm, to no avail.
In contrast, since 2005, the average workers’ contributions to insurance premiums have gone up 47 percent and workers are paying $333 per month toward the cost of family health coverage. (2010 Employer Health Benefits Survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, www.kff.org/insurance/090210nr.cfm).
The county explained that they have not performed studies that compare to the private sector for the salary and benefit review process. Comparisons are only made with other county governments, an insulated view. The county didn’t complete their homework.
On Oct. 5, 2010, we again urged commissioners to require county employees to contribute toward insurance premiums in fairness to the majority of workers who do. I asked what the timeline was for the decision and how the public could get involved. Commissioner Stuart explained that the actual negotiations are hidden to the public under various laws. However, a public hearing on the budget would be held in early December with information out ahead of time and opportunity to comment. He failed to mention that the very next week, Oct. 12, a top-secret three-year labor agreement with the largest union group would be on the consent agenda.