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Petition to Limit City Officials' Health Insurance: Letter to the Editor

Chuck Osborne is collecting signatures in an effort to limit health insurance benefits for some city officials and their family members

To the Residents of North Canton:

The petition that is now being circulated is called an Initiative. It is a right and a procedure by which citizens can propose a law by petition and ensure its submission to the electorate.

The purpose of the Initiative is to reduce health care cost for the city’s self-funded health insurance plan by ending city-paid health insurance for family members of part-time elected officials and limiting city-paid health insurance benefits for individual part-time elected officials.

The City of North Canton has four Ward Councilmembers, three at-Large Councilmembers and a Mayor who all serve as part-time elected officials. These eight individuals attend four meetings per month that last approximately two hours each. In addition to a salary, North Canton’s part-time elected officials receive city-paid health insurance for themselves and their families. The only other community in all of Stark County which provides health care for part-time elected officials is the City of Canton.

The positions of City Councilmember and the position of the Mayor are held by individuals who are typically employed full-time elsewhere. By virtue of that full-time employment these individuals, in most cases, have health insurance coverage with their full-time employer that is totally separate from their part-time employment with the City of North Canton.

Under the city-paid medical benefits plan offered to part-time elected officials, it is not uncommon for part-time elected officials to enjoy double and triple health care coverage, e.g., health care benefits from their full-time employer, maybe health care benefits from the spouse of the part-time elected official, and health care benefits from the City of North Canton.

This duplication of health care benefits comes at a great cost to North Canton taxpayers.

With the loss of thousands of jobs and substantial income tax revenue following the closure of the City’s largest employer (The Hoover Company in 2008), the City of North Canton has struggled financially and must find substantial savings and reduce the cost of city government.

The intention of the proposed legislation is to provide these savings. Assuming that North Canton City Council members and the Mayor will likely have health insurance coverage from their full-time employers, the savings in health insurance premiums alone would save taxpayers more than $111,000 per year.

Further savings to City taxpayers would result as some individuals now covered under the City’s self-insured health insurance plan would no longer be filing claims for health benefits.

The proposed legislation is intended to eliminate duplication of health care benefits provided to part-time elected officials while at the same time continuing health care benefits coverage to part-time elected officials who have no health care coverage, and doing all of these things at reasonable cost to North Canton taxpayers.

Elected officials who do not have health care benefits available to them from their full-time employer will not be denied city-paid health care benefits.

The Initiative Petition being circulated is an opportunity for the voters of North Canton to consider in the privacy of the voting booth on November 6, 2012, whether they wish to pass legislation to limit the city-paid health insurance that is presently being provided to North Canton part-time elected officials.

To have the opportunity to consider the proposed legislation this fall in the voting booth, North Canton Voters must sign the petition in sufficient numbers to put this issue on the ballot.

Signing the petition merely allows the issue to be put on the ballot. It is not a vote for or against the proposed legislation nor is it a pledge to vote for or against the legislation.

You, the Voter, will decide that in the voting booth in the general election on November 6, 2012. I ask that you give yourself that opportunity and sign the petition to put the proposed ordinance up for a vote.

If you have not had an opportunity to sign the petition, please call (330) 268-5730

Sincerely,
Chuck Osborne 

Jeff W May 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Open Response To Chuck Osborne Letter I find it incredulous that Chuck Osborne is going door to door to get people to sign a petition regarding this issue. Chuck is doing so under the guise of "saving the North Canton taxpayers" money. The sad fact is Chuck Osborne is doing this as just the next item in his long list of manipulations to get back at the elected officials that are tired of Chuck's antics, and also as an ongoing attempt to continually put himself in the North Canton politcal limelight. Here's a more relevant question anyone should ask Chuck Osborne. Do you know how much money you have made the city waste with your absolutely frivilous lawsuits, grandstanding, and general nuisance making? The residents of North Canton have spoken loudly, clearly, and often. The clear message is that they don't want someone like Chuck Osborne representing them, the city, and/or its policies. It may be time for a group of citizens to get together and file a class action lawsuit against Chuck Osborne to recoup wasted revenues, and to prevent him from continuing these money-wasting antics. The city has made good strides to battle back from the loss of the Hoover jobs. There is much more that can be done, and I think the current administration sees that, and will keep their eyes on the prize. If they don't, the North Canton voters will speak at the ballot booth.
Jennifer Boka May 10, 2012 at 01:30 PM
It seems a reasonable idea. I honestly wonder where Jeff W works, that he seems so against an individual who simply wishes to present an idea to the voters.
Ashley Villers May 10, 2012 at 10:27 PM
You may be right when it comes to Chuck's motivations, but is that really the issue at hand? Regardless of this assumed vendetta, he raises a valid & reasonable point. As someone who is employed part-time within North Canton City Schools, I do not have health insurance benefits paid for me, nor do I think I should as a part-time hire. From what I read, he's not asking to completely do away with health insurance benefits and I highly doubt North Canton voters would want such a thing for our officials. But as long as these part-time elected officials are given the option to pay-in for their own coverage, that is, if they do not have a second source (spouse, second job, etc.), why should tax-payers foot the bill? I think you said it best that NC voters will speak at the ballot booth, but how can they if citizens like Chuck Osborne and others are not bringing the issues to the residents of NC? You have just as much of a right to put together your case for the part-time elected officials to receive benefits... or to vote Chuck Osborne off the island... Hopefully then the residents will do their research and decide accordingly.
Jeff W May 11, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Jennifer, It's not the idea, it's the messenger. For the record, I work for a marketing/advertising firm that has been in business for 53 years. I am not in politics, nor do I have any desire to do that work for little pay, and no appreciation from a segment of the city population. I work and live in North Canton. Ashley, if North Canton had many citizens like Chuck Osborne, it would quickly go broke. Ask Chuck who was behind the attempt to stop Saurez from coming into the Hoover building. The lawsuit that the local citizen and the kook from New York filed? Ask Chuck where the local citizen resided. Ask Chuck who was behind threatening a lawsuit with an attorney in Cleveland, just because the mayor wouldn't consider Chuck for an open position. There are at least a half dozen more examples of Chuck Osborne's manic obsession with North Canton government.
Julie June 08, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Didn't Chuck take his wife's health insurance from the North Canton City Schools?? This is kinda calling the kettle black isn't it

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