Finance panel will discuss retirees

Laurens County Council Finance Committee seeks to make a recommendation to full council by May 9 meeting

TODAY: Laurens County retirees and employees concerned about their health insurance can listen in on a council committee discussion TODAY, 5:30 pm in the council chambers of the historic courthouse, downtown Laurens.

Council had a filled-to-capacity chamber Tuesday afternoon for a discussion with the retirees and employees. Council Chairman Joe Wood referred the matter to the finance committee - and the committee meeting was scheduled for today (April 27), so the panel can make a recommendation to the full council by its May 9 meeting.

County Administrator Jon Caime has suggested the council eliminate health insurance payments for the spouses of retirees for NEW HIRES of the county effective immediately. Council members are concerned that action does not go far enough in reducing the cost to the county of retirees' insurance. Current retirees and employees say they were promised this benefit when they were hired - and the county should honor its commitment. They are concerned that - to save money - the council will extend the reduction in benefits to people who retired from county service with at least 28 years and to those working now.

Without a reform, the cost to taxpayers of retiree spouses' health insurance will continue to rise, Caime has told the council. Caime has been charged by the council to come up with ways to eliminate a $1M per year county deficit - he is doing that by suggesting ways to cut costs and increase revenues.

The Finance Committee's agenda says the members (public comments are not allowed at committee meetings) will discuss:

--comparison of personnel policy (former and present);

--review of insurance formulas, review/determine - retiree and employee statistical data;

--new employees;

--present retirees;

--existing employees with forthcoming retirement - July 1, 2017;

--remainder of existing employees;

--retirees present with spousal coverage;

--schedule future meetings, if required.

Keith Tollison is the finance committee chairman, members are Dr. David Pitts and Ted Nash.


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