AVON — A question of employee health insurance benefits in the Town of Avon has surfaced again, and has produced some tension at the Town Board. At the meeting of the Board Thursday evening, an employee submitted a letter raising questions about employees’ and their spouses’ health care benefits, and suggested that the Board is giving special treatment to select employees.
Earlier this year, Avon Town Clerk Sharon Knight requested that her husband, who is a Kodak retiree, be covered under her health insurance plan. The initial request was that he be covered 100% by the Town. At the time, the Town Board voted against it, 3-2. At the recent February 14th meeting, however, the Town approved 50% coverage for Knight’s husband.
In the Thursday meeting this week, Town of Avon employee Mary Blye, whose husband is also a Town Councilmember and sits on the Town Board, submitted and read aloud a letter to the board. In the letter, Ms. Blye expressed concern because Ms. Knight is not a full-time employee, and works only 30 hours per week. According to the letter, the Town’s policy has been to not cover health insurance benefits for part time employees, with a specific exception for Mrs Knight.
Back in 2009, Ms. Knight’s husband’s health insurance was covered 100% by the Town for a time, but they opted out because at that point he had other health care options. It is unclear why her spouse’s health insurance had been covered in full. Town employees who retire as full-time workers are eligible for heatlh insurance at the group policy rate, but they are 100% responsible for the fee.
In an event, with the recent turmoil at Kodak affecting retirees, Ms. Knight’s husband no longer has those options, and thus Ms. Knight came forward to the board with her request. According to Ms. Knight, the additional premium cost for her husband’s coverage is $107.62 per month.
“The actions taken at the Feb 14th meeting have evidently set new standards for what benefits are offered and i truly feel that it would be discriminatory action not to entertain these options for all,” said Ms. Blye during her statement to the board.
Based on the new employee handbook for the Town, any changes in an emloyee’s health insurance benefits must be approved by the Town Board.