Many Part-Time Officials Getting Publicly Funded Health Benefits
In 2010, hundreds of California's part-time elected officials received full-time, taxpayer-funded health benefits at no cost, according to data obtained by the Bay Area News Group, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Cities, counties and special districts have offered taxpayer-funded health plans to part-time officials for years, but the public generally has been unaware of the benefits (Peele/Willis , Contra Costa Times, 4/24).
However, in 2007 the California Supreme Court ruled that the compensation of government employees must be available as public record (Peele/Willis , San Jose Mercury News, 4/24).
According to the News Group's data, individual health policies for some part-time elected officials cost as much as tens of thousands of dollars. The News Group also found that several officials with multiple government positions received two taxpayer-funded health policies.
In addition, the data found that:
- The average health benefit cost -- or cash payment in lieu of coverage -- for part-time officials on city councils, school boards and special districts was $9,122 in 2010, exceeding the $7,099 average salary paid to such officials.
- Cities that offered health benefits spent an average of $8,508 on health coverage for each part-time official, exceeding the average salary of $8,037 (Peele/Willis , San Jose Mercury News, 4/24).
Some Public AgenciesÂ Decline To Disclose Data
Despite the 2007 California Supreme Court ruling, many cities, school boards and special districts did not respond to the News Group's request for government pay data.
The News Group issued 510 public records requests between January and March, but obtained and published compensation data from only 255 of those government entities (Peele/Willis , San Jose Mercury News, 4/24).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.