RANDOLPH — The town has bought into a health insurance plan for full-time employees despite objections raised a month ago by budget committee members and other residents at the annual Town Meeting.

The estimated $20,000 cost proved to be a stumbling block even with pleas for passage by two of the three selectmen at that meeting.

It turns out the price will be $7,539 for nine months, according to Janet Richards, town treasurer. The plan is being offered through Maine Municipal Health Trust, through which employees also have income protection insurance.

Richards said $2,500 of the cost will come from the Randolph Wastewater System because town employees do billing and book-keeping for that department; the other $5,000 is coming from the town.

The one town employee accessing the health insurance coverage, Town Clerk Lynn Mealey, must pay 5 percent of the cost. Any dependents must pay the full cost.

Mealey has been town clerk since 2004. Richards, the only other full-time employee, declined the coverage.

The coverage was made available to employees after selectmen updated the 2003 office personnel policy on July 24, a day before the annual town meeting.

“The select board felt that the longtime employee of the town was entitled to it,” Selectman Edward Gorham said.

In 2004, the board of selectmen passed a resolution authorizing insurance for the office staff, Gorham said, but staff members didn’t use it because they were covered under their spouses’ insurance.

In 2004-2005, $5,500 was budgeted for one employee to have health insurance, according to Richards.

Several residents voiced their disapproval Tuesday at a regular selectmen’s meeting about resumed health insurance offering.

Delsa Mock, who argued against providing the coverage at Town Meeting as well, told selectmen that it was wrong. “The people had spoken and they did exactly the opposite. It does undermine our trust in them,” Mock said Wednesday.

Gorham said selectmen took $285,000 voters approved for contracted services at the annual Town Meeting “and found other additional monies we’re using to fund the insurance program.”

Twenty-two individual expense items are listed under contracted services.

“What upsets a lot of people is the way that it was done,” said Doug Mock, who is on the budget committee and married to Delsa Mock. “Essentially they just did what they wanted to do. Maybe in the end, it will be a good policy. But if they found all these other cuts after the fact, they were sitting there before.”

 

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