Former Concord City Council Candidate Looks to End Lifetime Healthcare Perk for Councilmembers

June 9, 2014 · 57 comments

petition

Former Concord City Council candidate Terry Kremin has started a petition to try and end the lifetime heathcare perk given to each Concord City Councilmember after at least five years of employment with the City of Concord.

Kremin released the following information to Claycord.com on Monday….

Help wanted: Part time, flexible hours, lifetime healthcare after five years of employment! Sound too good to be true? It SHOULD, but this is exactly what the members of the Concord City Council award the members of the Concord City Council. That’s right – they negotiate that benefit with the city manager, and then get to approve their own benefit negotiation with a person they chose and hired, and who they get to set salary and benefits for. Wondered about run away city manager salaries? Now you can stop wondering.

This sounds appropriate for dignitaries with entitlement issues, but it sure doesn’t sound right for public servants, especially ones constantly talking about how we have to reduce the city’s unfunded liabilities. Simple – start with your own benefits – that is something you can very easily renegotiate and have full control over!

I keep hearing “it’s complicated.” Not really. No more than any other contract negotiation – it is only as complicated as the people involved make it. If Concord Police officers came forward and offered to cut their long term benefits in half, I guarantee you it would happen fast, and would not be “complicated”.

This has been an issue in the last two elections. But then somehow seems to disappear after the election. Two incumbents will be getting their five years in if re-elected – maybe after they get theirs they will talk about ending it? It is time it ends now. We have waited long enough, and it seems clear that individual comments are falling on deaf ears.

Regretfully, we the voters have no direct say in the city council’s benefits and compensation (something that needs to change), and our only option right now is to ask them nicely to remove this ridiculous perk. Even a question on the ballot would only be a suggestion and nonbinding (but cost the city to put on the ballot). That is why I am circulating these petitions (http://www.kremin.us/petition.pdf). Please download a copy and distribute widely. There are directions on the form on getting them back to me. Maybe if we can get enough signatures asking nicely they will reconsider and alter their benefit package.

Hey, I am an optimist. If not, we have only one other option come November. Once I hit a critical mass of signature, I will announce when they will be presented to the City Council. Current plan is first council meeting of August, Once it is set, I hope you will join me in presenting them to the council.

Your thoughts?

1 Cali Girl June 9, 2014 at 10:24 AM

That’s what the Board of Supervisors for Contra Costa County also get to do… Make their own raises and I wouldn’t be surprised if securing cool benefits for themselves also!! Perhaps a petition to stop that also is in order…
How can this be fair to anyone but them… A few years back they decided they needed a 60% raise!!! Wow!! I’d like that!

2 Mark June 9, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Best news I’ve heard today. I can’t help wondering however, would this proposal be on the board if Terry had been elected to council, not merely an unsuccessful candidate?

3 94598 June 9, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Terry Kremin is a hero!

4 Chronic Halitosis June 9, 2014 at 10:34 AM

I think The petitions would be more successful if I could review, sign, and submit it.

5 Now if Only We Could June 9, 2014 at 10:37 AM

get the four city council members to stop taking election money from POA/Corps. that they approve the contracts for city services.

And stop the joke, we have a balanced budget. Not with unfunded liabilities we don’t.

6 Concord Mike June 9, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Good idea. City Council is a part time position and they already receive a monthly stipend. Receiving lifetime medical benefits after 5 years is absurd.

7 Miss Ranchogirl June 9, 2014 at 10:44 AM

YES!

8 old concord June 9, 2014 at 11:00 AM

We need to have council members who value and protect our tax dollars . The people on council should not add more of a burden on us .

9 Pro Fi June 9, 2014 at 11:02 AM

I just posted a Change.org petition which you can sign and view online:
City Council of Concord, CA: Remove lifetime healthcare benefits for part-time city council members . Currently a council member becomes eligible for benefits after 5 years of service.

https://www.change.org/petitions/city-council-of-concord-ca-remove-lifetime-healthcare-benefits-for-part-time-city-council-members-currently-a-council-member-becomes-eligible-for-benefits-after-5-years-of-service

This is ABSURD!!!!!!!

10 Mark W. June 9, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Looks like someone is starting their campaign early. I would guess Mr. Kremin is going to run for Council again this year and make this issue part of the campaign. Ron Leone’s position on this will be interesting. I just hope the goal here is not politics but real change.

11 WC June 9, 2014 at 11:36 AM

It aligns perfectly with all the public service union deals that we cannot afford. Create a petition for all of ‘em.

12 anonanonagain June 9, 2014 at 11:41 AM

I’m sure these Council Members don’t think there is anything wrong with what they are doing. Moral corruption and greed doesn’t stink if you are sitting in it… time for a change…..

13 Aspirin June 9, 2014 at 11:57 AM

If lifetime medical benefits for part-timers were to be put up for a vote 90% would vote against it. This is an abuse of public money.

14 dave June 9, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Terry is a good guy. An absolute family man that picks up his kids every day from school and is very involved in their lives. I’d much rather have that on the council than someone that is out of touch with what it takes to be a family in Concord. Good Luck Terry.

15 Guy Bjerke June 9, 2014 at 12:05 PM

FYI – the Council rarely meets in August.

16 Clayanon June 9, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Couldn’t this be on the ballot? When I googled “Concord proposition” I found that at one point that the State had Proposition 22 and Concord had Measure Q on the ballot, so it appears that a Measure can be added to the ballot for local issues. Here’s how a voter can add a measure:
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_j.htm

17 Mark June 9, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Put a 4-year term limit on City Council positions. Isn’t that something citizens could get put on the ballot and vote for?

Do you think the council would have the guts to reduce limetime pensions to 3 years of service if term limits passed??

18 KAD June 9, 2014 at 12:27 PM

What are everyone’s thoughts on the length of employment to allow the benefits? 5 years is not enough. I think 20 years should be required.

19 94598 June 9, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Im with post #5 -Now if Only We Could
get the four city council members to stop taking election money from POA/Cops. that they approve the contracts for city services.

YES -ban campaign contributions from the POA, whose contracts you approve- that is SOOO wrong! thats where the real money is going and straining city services.

20 GoodThoughts June 9, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Good thought. Finally someone coming up with something that makes sense. This should go for ALL government officials. Since medicare is good enough for us, it should be good enough for them too! They should also go on Social Security, no more big pensions/retirements. They should have to retire on their 401Ks and SS like we do.

21 Me, anonymously June 9, 2014 at 12:43 PM

How about if we, the citizens of Concord, just not reelect council members approaching five years? Perhaps that might compel a change.

22 SKS June 9, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Concord’s executive staff (department heads, etc.) also get lifetime medical care starting on Day One of their employment… no probationary period or anything.

Meanwhile, you residents get the shaft, Medicare, and Obamacare.

CONGRATULATIONS.

23 CW June 9, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Healthcare coverage should only be for full-time municipal workers and ONLY while they are actively working or on disability & expected to return to their positions after they recover.

24 KAD June 9, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Term Limits – I do not agree with this. At least one of the City Council members is good at what they do and work really hard at understanding items put before them. I would hate to see this person not able to continue on the Council.

25 ....... June 9, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Throw them ALL out – each election, we need a complete turnover in all offices!

26 @ Cali Girl #1 June 9, 2014 at 1:09 PM

You do know once the BOS gets the clerks to sign off on a new contract the BOS is set to vote themselves a 50% raise don’t you??? So they will get the 4% & 3% the general worker gets PLUS 50%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How sweet it is for them.

And nobody and I mean NOBODY should get life time FREE medical after 5 years. Is should be, at the most a 25/75% (employee 25-employer 75) split, but in reality a 50/50 split would be more than fair.

27 @ Cali Girl #1 June 9, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Ooopps……….need to add that nobody shoud get life medical after 5 years, that term of service should be 20 years and if they have medical with another employer/agency then they would get NO medical from Concord

28 we b broke June 9, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Many people do not realize it, but this is pretty much what is bankrupting the state and the nation.
You just can’t keep printing money with nothing backing it. When there is no more money, really terrible things will start to happen with pensions, retirement funds, bank accounts, etc.
Just because people have plenty of checks in their checkbooks, does not mean they have money to pay bills with! Same goes with local, state and federal govt.

29 ANON June 9, 2014 at 2:50 PM

There is a close by city to Concord that pays $15,000 + for a city clerk & his wife’s health benefits @ year. This person puts in maybe 4 hours a week on a good week. This is all kept secret.

30 Cali Girl June 9, 2014 at 3:45 PM

@ #26
It wouldn’t surprise me one stinkin’ bit!! Lol

31 Mary June 9, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Lifetime medical for serving 5 years as a city council member?
What a shocker and I am not being sarcastic.
I am signing the petition to end this scam.
Shame on the current council for letting this selfish perk to continue!

32 Yes ! June 9, 2014 at 5:03 PM

We must end all incentives encouraging career politicians. That goes for state and federal positions as well.

This perk fuels corruption to get reelected in order to receive benefits no one gets.

33 Gus June 9, 2014 at 5:13 PM

I know an evil old lady that brags about this all the time. She’s loaded. Spends two months of the year on a cruise.

34 waverunner June 9, 2014 at 5:30 PM

What’s interesting is that part-time City employees receive NO BENEFITS – PERIOD, so why should council members receive medical for a lifetime, if at all. There seems to be a fine line between being an actual employee hired by the City and an elected official. Something is missing from this picture.

35 anon June 9, 2014 at 5:37 PM

this is an outstanding person leading the charge against the corrupt.
kudos and sign me up to protest the wasteful and sinful misuse of tax dollars.
I say sinful because having any government employment does not make one any more entitled to lifetime anything unless the employee has paid into the costs. it sounds like pre planned and overfunded welfare to me.
I dont.even thing our presidents should have secret service
coverage after three years out of office. I think congressmen,senators, mayors etc and presidents might be quite a.bit more down to.earth and inclined to follow thru for the public if they had no protections after their term of office. there are so many more deserving people who perform unpleasant- perkless jobs for the benefit of communities.
City council and government workers: come on! remember- the freedom of information act makes clear who all is collecting..and call it what u want…everyone knows it is criminal and sinful to.take more than earned. calling it a PERK is not a.disguise for co conspiring to embezzle public funds. Really?

36 Michelle June 9, 2014 at 5:53 PM

There’s a lot missing from this picture; once the clerk passes the already contracted agreement over for signatures–it’s a done deal. Benefits for a lifetime.

37 claycordian June 9, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Ron Leone just broke out into a cold sweat……..

38 Antler June 9, 2014 at 6:39 PM

I agree with KAD at #24 and also with the person who posted at #27.

39 Atticus Thraxx June 9, 2014 at 7:18 PM

In your hurry to strike down this “grave injustice”, make sure you don’t make the job so unappealing we end up not attracting actually competent and talented people. Yeah, five years may be overly generous. How about 50% after 5 years, 75% after 10 years…and so on?

40 Longtime Resident June 9, 2014 at 7:43 PM

I wonder what Edi Birsan has to say about this?

I also wonder who Dan Helix will make racist, homophobic slurs against in this election. Just like he did against Edi Birsan last go around through the POA.

Poping my popcorn and getting ready for the show.

41 Pro Fi June 9, 2014 at 7:49 PM

@ Atticus – I understand what you are saying. However, I think a reasonable monthly stipend for their time is more than fair. It is about wanting to make this a better place to live because YOU LIVE HERE, not because you can fleece your community.

42 Mulan June 9, 2014 at 8:27 PM

I think it’s fair that council members get lifetime benefits. They’re the ones who have to listen to public gripes in and out of office. Everyone still bashes Clinton and he’s can’t go for office anymore.

43 You can tell it's election time June 9, 2014 at 8:59 PM

Mayor Grayson, all on his own started a task force made up of Helix and Laura to look into this. Of course, Ron is sweating it. And I would bet money no action until maybe after election. Remember Ron is the one with the double dipping crap from the Mt. Diablo Hospital thing, were he gets like $200,000 for his medical. And he also was taking Concord city money instead of the medical, now that should be a crime.

Time for the three in this next election to go.

Remember the auto alley they worked so hard for, to bring in money to Concord and then these are the same people who donated to their election funds. Heaven forbid they should actually work on putting some stores in Concord and residents would actually shop at. No they want BART to bring in people to eat in the Plaza.

44 NO POA MONEY June 9, 2014 at 9:02 PM

this election, please people think about it.

45 Atticus Thraxx June 9, 2014 at 9:04 PM

Fair enough point Pro Fi. Though I don’t think a graduated schedule for medical compensation qualifies as fleecing. If we to continue to elect octogenarians though, it’s kinda a moot point.

46 Sid June 9, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Don’t council members have other jobs in addition to being council members? This is a part-time extra-curricular activity for them. I don’t see why they get any benefits at all beyond a modest stipend. Health insurance should be provided by their primary employer, not Concord.

Lifetime healthcare used to be a nice perk that didn’t cost the city much because they just lumped them in with the rest of the city employees. Times have changed. Health insurance costs the city an arm and a leg now. The city can’t afford to do this any longer. It’s time for it to end.

Private businesses don’t give full-time employees lifetime healthcare after 5 years. Not even the top employers in the Bay Area are that generous. You have to work full-time for 25-30 years, and even then they don’t pay 100%.

As for Atticus’s worry that we won’t get good candidates if we cut this perk, I’d rather increase the annual stipend if that’s a problem. At least that ends once the council member is no longer on the council.

47 KAD June 9, 2014 at 10:11 PM

# 43 – Please explain the $200,000. Do you mean he actually gets the money, just in case he needs the money for medical bills even though he does not use it?

#40 – I think Edi is the one that brought this up first.

That POA ad against Edi was a disgrace to our community.

48 KAD June 9, 2014 at 11:08 PM

Sid – you make a lot of sense. Yes, 3 of the 5 are employed or own their own company (Edi). Helix will be on TriCare for life (military medical benefits). Private business do not do this so why should the Cities. I pay a pretty penny for my medical insurance after retiring. We can’t afford to do this so it has to stop.

49 @KAD June 10, 2014 at 6:17 AM

I wouldn’t think it was too good for Edi to respond to any coments. The four other council members are all ready saving up a major war chest to beat him in the next election.

Helix, Laura have medical insurance from their present/past jobs. Tim/Edi are self employed so they probably need it more than anyone. But Edi would never do anything to hurt the city. Ron is another thing altogether, can we spell slime?

50 Here's the deal... June 10, 2014 at 8:20 AM

No other agency grants free life time health after 5 years. County currently has a 3 tier syste. Highered prior to 2006 you have premium split retiree medical after 10 years, hired from 2006 – 2011 you have premium split retiree medical after 15 years, after 2011 you have no retiree medical but get $150 put into deferred comp to help pay for retiree medical.

I see no problem with premium split retiree health for employees after 15-20 years but 5 years full retiree coverage with no premium split is completely insane for a 5 years of work regardless of whether it is full or part time.

And yes…………Tim, Ron, Laura and Dan are afer Edi because he wants to do what is right and not what pads his pocket or in the case of Tim gets him the BOS seat after Mitchoff. But the voting public of Concord is stuck on stupid and can’t think for themselves…….they just vote the way the glossy POA flyers tell them too

51 TeamUSA June 10, 2014 at 9:06 AM

Ron Leone. Remember his and his family’s lifetime benefits from the former Mt. Diablo Health Care Diatrict? The one that was not dissolved, but turned into a subsidiary district of the City of Concord? What about THAT budget with allocated monies STILL given to Leone?

Someone needs to question Leone and his crooked ways. He and his family are costing taxpayers more than you know, with little to no return.

Edi goes out into the community and dirties his own hands. He is a fine example for our town.

52 Annon June 10, 2014 at 10:37 AM

I think we should have limited terms of say 2 terms, that’s it. Laura needs to be voted out, I do not care for Tim or Helix, and Ron was a big mistake. I am not fond of Edi either, he is not in step with the people around him. I will not vote for him again.

53 KAD June 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Annon – I hope others realize that Ron was a big mistake the way you do. As far as Edi not being in step with the others is OK with me. What is wrong with that?. He has the good of the community in mind. None of the others work as hard as he does for our community.

54 Sid June 10, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Annon #52,

We don’t need term limits. We already have a way to limit how long a council member can serve. It’s called an election. If the citizens want to keep voting in the same people year after year, fine. If they think they’re doing a crappy job, they can vote them out. Also fine. We don’t need to limit the citizens rights to vote in or out whomever they want just because you don’t like who wins the elections.

55 RunDogRun June 10, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Best idea I’ve heard in years. Let
them eat Obamacare like the rest
of us.

56 jtkatec June 11, 2014 at 12:04 PM

I’m signing

57 CONCORDIANS VOTE THEM OUT June 17, 2014 at 1:58 PM

It’s an election year people – and it’s time to get rid of them all! Edi and Dan are not up for reelection this year (Edi is the only one worth keeping anyway). GET RID OF LAURA, RON AND TIM! There are new candidates ready to take over so let’s give them a chance…I will be voting for Adam Foster and Dr. Kumar.

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