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Lodi isn't giving away mega health benefits

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Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 5:28 pm

Watching Stockton’s treasury get wiped out by spendy arenas and the granting of over-generous employee benefits got me thinking: Do city of Lodi retirees get paid health insurance?

This benefit can inflate endlessly and is haunting not only Stockton, but the state and many other governments that have granted it.

Any American employer — and most retirees — will tell you health insurance is eating them alive. The News-Sentinel, for instance, pays more for health insurance than the paper we run through the presses.

I called Jeff Hood over at City Hall and got some comforting news: Before 1995, the only health benefit city retirees received was the ability to convert their unused sick and vacation pay into continued payments on the city’s health plan. It was a limited, tax advantaged benefit.

In 1995, presumably because the city council and employee unions bargained it away, that benefit stopped for new hirees. Now, says Hood, all unused sick leave is just extinguished upon retirement — poof! Unused vacation is paid out in cash.

It seems Lodi never went for the mega-benefits that have landed Stockton and the state in hot water.

If you run into a present or former member of the city council, commend that person for hard-nosed negotiating on your behalf. And don’t forget, none of this would have happen if the city employees hadn’t agreed.

We have a dedicated corps of city workers and we’re lucky.

Hood game me this link to all the city’s employee contracts: http://www.lodi.gov/human_resources/MOUs.html.

It won’t be light reading, but now you know.

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