Analysis Sees Disparities in Health Benefits Given to City Officials in Calif.
Health benefits for elected officials have been in the spotlight during the last year in response to city budget cuts and a salary scandal involving the city of Bell.
Details of Analysis
For its analysis, the Times scrutinized thousands of pages of records from 2009 and found that more than two-thirds of the state's 482 cities provide some level of health coverage to elected officials, including part-time officials who meet a few times per month.
The analysis found that part-time council members in smaller cities such as Industry, Irwindale and Vernon received significantly more generous health benefits than full-time council members in larger cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. In Laguna Hills -- which has a population of about 40,000 -- council members receive an annual salary of $7,400 and medical benefits worth an average of $24,300 annually.
Possible Contributing Factors
According to the Times, one possible reason for the disparities in medicalÂ benefits could be that larger cities tend to face more scrutiny for the compensation offered to elected officials.
David Mora, an analyst with the International City/County Management Association, said some cities decided to offer generous health benefits to encourage residents from different backgrounds to run for office.
Rick Cole, city manager for Ventura, said the differences in city health benefits could reflect varying perspectives on public service (Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 7/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.