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Council approves non-union staff benefits shift

Warren City Council has made substantive changes to non-union employee benefits.

The changes were approved by council earlier this week. They affect 16 employees according to City Manager Nancy Freeenock.

She told council that the city’s Early Intervention Program report indicates the city should shift from a flat rate health premium to a per-pay percentage rate. She said that has become a trend in the region and that the changes would go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

The rate, she said, would be set at 10 percent with one percent annual increases unless council changes the rate.

Two additional $25 bi-weekly surcharges were added for those 16 employees.

One is a surcharge for situations where an employee’s spouse can obtain health coverage under their employer.

The other is a $25 surcharge for family members who use tobacco products.

Freenock told council that tobacco use raises health care costs and said the surcharge is aimed to “increase cessation.”

How is that enforced?

Freenock told the Times Observer that the employees will be asked to sign a statement to that effect under penalty of perjury.

Deductibles were also increased though Freenock noted that these changes result in a decreased rate hike – 8 to 6.5 percent – for next year.

The changes were approved unanimously by council.

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