City Council Compensation Follow-Up

What the council decided about benefits for future Members.

The Fullerton City Council is considering reducing benefits for future members and possibly taking them out of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) after a presentation by the City’s Human Resources department Tuesday.

A significant portion of the compensation package is healthcare benefits, which exceeds the annual council stipend of $9,000 annually. However, all sitting Council Members have either waived part or all or part of the maximum $36,479 compensation package.

“It says something about integrity of people who run city,” said Council Member Greg Sebourn during the meeting.

Council Member Jennifer Fitzgerald, who brought up the agenda item along with Sebourn, said that she campaigned on a platform of transparency and refusing benefits for part-time work that she thought was a service to the public. She wants to ensure the public that future Councils will sharing the same sacrifice as City employees have done in the past few years as the Council cannot cut its own compensation during their terms.

“Folks, generally don’t trust elected officials these days,” she said. “They think elected officials are on the take and we get rich off job that we do. No, it’s shown that council benefits here are conservative.”

She wants to eliminate the possibility of future Councils from participating in healthcare plans that are subsidized by the taxpayer and take part in a defined contribution plan paid fully by Council members.

“I don’t think it’s right that [the Fullerton City Council] participate in CalPERS,” Fitzgerald said before the Council voted to receive and file the benefits report. “I think the system is messed up beyond belief.”

Council Member Jan Flory suggested that future Councils should only get HMO benefits and those who are enrolled in Medicare should not receive health benefits at all from the City.

Though the Council took no action other than receiving and filing the report from Human Resouces, Fitzgerald’s proposals for Council compensation will likely be agendaized for a future Council meeting.

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