Friday, November 13, 2009

Hey, don't yell at us

Once again, I normally try to stay away from local issues, but this latest kerfuffle has exploded in Kenosha.

Kenosha county residents are furious at their county board supervisors over sticking taxpayers for health care insurance. They are not angry at all of them, but most of them.

Read the KNews story from Wednesday:

Kenosha County supervisors opted Tuesday to beef up, rather than cut, their health insurance, and to retain a new $64,000-a-year admissions coordinator for Brookside Care Center.

The County Board spent most of its time on these matters as it headed toward adopting a $201.7 million 2010 budget. The budget passed 24-3, with Doug Noble, Rob Zerban and Bob Haas voting against it, decrying the health insurance move.


Apparently, there is quite a bit of heat on the county board supervisors. Charlie Sykes had a field day on his radio show on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the KNews put out this article:

A movement is already under way to reconsider a more generous health insurance package that the Kenosha County Board voted to give itself Tuesday.

Supervisor Jennifer Jackson, one of the proponents in a 14-13 vote to strip supervisors of the requirement to contribute to their insurance premiums, will make a motion to reconsider the matter, County Board Chairman Joe Clark confirmed Wednesday afternoon.


Somehow, there is some confusion out there about who voted for this and who did not. I received a phone call from a gentleman who was quite upset over this. He said his friend told him is was the "guy from the 5th district" that initiated the increase in benefits. He knew he lived in the 5th district so he looked up the information on the internet and came up with my name.

I explained to him that I am the alderman of the 5th district, not the county board supervisor of the 5th district. The caller was a pretty nice fellow, but it was clear he was upset.

I listened patiently and then explained to him that we have no control over what benefits the county board gives themselves.

Your city aldermen had nothing to do with this! None of us voted for this.

Alderman do not receive any healthcare benefits and they never have received them. City aldermen have not received any pay increases since 1988. The per diem did increase in 1992 from $50 a month to $100 a month, but that is the last time anything has changed as far as pay for aldermen.

For about 20 years, the city aldermen have not given themselves a raise.

Even though I do not speak for all of the city's alderman, it is a virtually certainty that none of us will request a pay increase this year either. That would be shear foolishness on our part, especially after watching this debacle.

I can understand people being upset about this. I am upset too. I pay taxes also.

If you are upset, call your county board supervisor and let them know where you stand.

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