City Council Members Surpass Salary Caps by Forgoing Health Benefits
Some members of California city councils are taking advantage of loopholes in salary cap laws that allow them to receive more money by taking cash instead of health insurance, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis, the Times reports.
City officials have faced criticism across the state for receiving robust salaries.
However, a Times analysis of compensation figures found that most city council officials earn less than what they are permitted by the state.
Health Care Benefits
Among officials who did receive more than base salary limits, many received pay increases because cities gave them the option of taking cash in lieu of medical benefits.
For example, in Chino, council members can choose to cash out their $26,000 annual health benefit or put it in a deferred compensation account instead of using it for insurance. In Baldwin Park, council members can take cash for the $14,400 annual insurance allotment.
In addition, some cities allow part-time officials to receive health plans.
The Times analysis found that council members in 116 cities governed by state salary cap laws were above legal limits when health care benefits were added to salaries.
City council pay rates and medical benefits exceeded the rate of inflation in about 50 of these cities, the analysis found.
Elected officials say that the compensation packages are justifiable because of the rigors of the job (Sewell, Los Angeles Times, 8/2).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.