WARREN, Mich. – The Warren City Council passed a resolution that gives members lifetime health care benefits.
The resolution was passed in less than 30 seconds during a Sept. 10 meeting. Six of the seven council members will not return next term, including four term-limited members.
“This was done to the best of our ability at the time and wasn’t an attempt to sneak it through,” said Robert Boccomino, the now-former City Council secretary.
Boccomino said the vote was just the first step in the process, and that is why it was so fast. He also said he thinks council members should have a chance at lifetime health care benefits.
Warren city employees get such coverage after working 25 years. City Council members are term-limited so they could never work 25 years in their positions.
“Could there have been more discussion? Sure. But, at the time, this wasn’t guaranteeing health care -- it was just asking the city to take a look and crunch the numbers,” Boccomino said.
The city said the City Council never got an analysis to determine how much money such a resolution would cost. Boccomino said he assumed that was happening at a retirement committee meeting.
Pat Green, the new City Council president, and some of the outgoing members said they didn’t realize what they were voting for, and they would have voted “no” if they knew the resolution was for lifetime health benefits.
Green said unwinding the resolution is a priority.
Mayor Jim Fouts said the resolution was submitted to his office after hours on Sept. 13, so he wasn’t able to veto the measure.
“The bottom line is this unconscionable, unthinkable beyond my wildest imagination that they would come up with something like this,” Fouts said. “It will not be implemented, and I guarantee that.”
Fouts’ office is investigating to determine if any other city employees were involved in drafting the resolution.