Home News Local News Village cuts back taxpayer-funded health insurance for elected officials

Village cuts back taxpayer-funded health insurance for elected officials

Greenport Village elected officials will no longer be eligible for fully paid family health insurance coverage effective January 1. The village will continue to fund individual health insurance coverage for the five elected officials, who will have the option of purchasing family coverage through the village plan at their own expense.

The board voted unanimously without discussion or comment on the change during last night’s village board meeting at the Third Street firehouse.

Trustees Doug Roberts and Jack Martilotta had proposed all eliminating health insurance benefits for the part-time positions. Resolutions that would have eliminated the coverage were twice voted down by the board in split 3-2 votes, in April and September.

Mayor George Hubbard Jr. suggested the individual-only coverage as a compromise during last week’s work session.

“It’s a part-time job, so it would be part-time benefits,” Hubbard said at the work session.

Individual coverage will cost the village between $9,000 and $10,000 per policy annually, the mayor said. A family plan comes with an annual price tag of about $22,000, he said. Any board member can to opt for a family plan at his or her own expense.

Roberts and Martilotta are not insured through the village plan. Martilotta, a Greenport High School teacher, has health insurance benefits provided through his employer and Roberts, whose wife is also a teacher, has health insurance benefits provided through her employer.

The mayor said last week he’d already obtained his own coverage anyway, as he pledged to do during the board’s organizational meeting, and was not utilizing village-provided benefits as of November 1.

Trustee Julia Robins said last week she was switching to an employee-only plan as of December 1 in any case.

Roberts and Martilotta, who were elected to the board in March, said the provision of full health benefits to the part-time elected officials was a complaint that came up repeatedly on the campaign trail, as the pair went door-to-door throughout the village.

Hubbard had objected to comments made by Roberts on Facebook about things he said the board could not afford to do because of the money it spent on its own benefits. He said the two trustees “made it personal” by “calling out” the mayor and other trustees on social media. The mayor noted that both men also had “taxpayer-funded health insurance,” suggesting that their objections were tainted by hypocrisy.

The savings from the benefit change would have been about $60,000 per year if all five board members were taking village-funded family coverage. With three members not taking any village health benefit and one other member already switching to an individual plan, the actual net savings to the village will be only about $12,000 per year, representing the difference between family and individual coverage provided to the remaining trustee, Mary Bess Phillips.

Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.