Category Archives: health insurance

Did Mayor Elam violate the City’s Ethics Ordinance . . . again?

The laughably neutered Mt. Juliet City Ethics Ordinance, passed in September, 2007, contains this language:

13-1-108. Use of position or authority

An official or employee may not use his position to secure any
privilege or exemption for himself or others that is not
authorized by the charter, general law, or ordinance or
policy of the municipality.

There is a plausible case to be made that in attempting to secure a health insurance privilege benefit for herself, the Mayor violated the city’s ethics ordinance.

It might have been ethical to propose a health insurance benefit for a future commission, but it was certainly un-ethical for an elected official to sponsor, advocate, and vote for an ordinance that would have extended that benefit to herself.

And it may have violated the city’s ethics ordinance. Rounding up witnesses with first-hand knowledge of the facts shouldn’t be a problem. You can always show them the video recording of the meeting. Are there any Mt. Juliet citizens who care enough about responsible government to file a complaint?

It was a further breach of ethics for the mayor to have snuck this on to the agenda on first reading by suspending the rules and getting it passed without any prior notice to the public. Thankfully, the rest of the commission came to its senses and voted this un-ethical proposal down 1 – 4.

The public would be well-advised to pay close attention at the next city commission meeting to how the minutes report the debate on this proposal. The Mayor has a documented history of intervening in the writing of the minutes to alter them and make sure they rewrite history they way she wants it to be remembered.

9 Comments

Filed under health insurance, Mt. Juliet City Commission

“It was a surreal city commission meeting . . .”

Monday, September 14, 2009.

Mayor Elam attempted to pass a new benefits package for the Mayor and City Commissioners. It was defeated.

Mayor Elam proposed converting the 60-acre York Road property (home of the police department’s firing range) to a “passive park.” It was defeated.

A study committee had unanimously recommended the repeal of the restrictive “town center overlay” zoning from the center of Mt. Juliet. Mayor Elam has previously pointed proudly to this as “her baby.” It was repealed, with even Mayor Elam voting to repudiate it.

The Mayor had sharp words for the other commissioners.

The Mayor had sharp words for the city attorney.

The Mayor had sharp words for the city manager.

The Mayor had sharp words for the acting parks director.

And the Mayor went 0-for-three.

When the City Attorney opined that adding full health insurance benefits for the Mayor and Commissioners might be considered salary or compensation, and could be challenged unless it applied only to commissioners elected in the future, the Mayor blew up.

“I want to see that! They’ve acknowledged there are no Tennessee cases on any of this and they are looking at other states and that’s not binding!”

“We can do as we choose. . .”

Got that citizens of Mt. Juliet?

According to Mayor Elam, she and the other commissioners “can do as we choose. . .”

(the headline comes from the Mt. Juliet News story. We’d link to it, but they’re website seems to have the hiccups. Click through if you want to try on your own.)

6 Comments

Filed under health insurance, Mt. Juliet City Commission

City of Mt. Juliet 2009-2010 Budget

It’s posted on the City website, but it takes a bit of digging to find. It was part of the Commissioner’s packet for the June 8th City Commission meeting. But since that packet is an 88 page .pdf (14mb), it takes a little while to load.

RFMJ has extracted the Budget Ordinance from this packet and saved it as a separate 8 page .pdf file (54kb). Should be much faster to download. Click on this link or on the image of page one below to view the full budget.

There is also a much larger document submitted to the commission with the budget, the so-called “budget book.” This book, usually several hundred pages, has the detailed budget by line item amounts for each department. It has NOT been made available on the city website.

2009 buget page 1

Bottom line:

General fund estimated revenues: $10,173,293.94

General fund estimated recurring expenses: $9,916473.43
(but with a transfer to the Debt Service Fund of $800,000 – this appears to be to fund the annual, recurring debt service obligations of the city)

General fund recurring expenses (with debt service): $10,716,473.43

Of particular interest is the separate reporting of the Insurance Benefit Fund for city employees. Total cost of Health Insurance is $1,353,814.68. (This cost is separately reported within the various departments’ expenses in the General Fund budget.

If one knew the total employee count, then it would be relatively simple to compute the cost per employee of health insurance and compare that to other alternatives.

12 Comments

Filed under health insurance, Mt. Juliet City Commission