City Council Backs Off Proposal to Benefit Managers

Long Beach City Hall. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
Long Beach City Hall. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)

The Long Beach City Council has backed off a proposal that would have reduced eligibility requirements for retirement benefits aimed at management employees.

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Exempt management employees, who are not covered under a collective bargaining agreement, are presently eligible for lifetime medical benefits on their retirement after 15 years of service with the city at age 55, or after a collective 30 years of service.

Last month, City Manager Jack Schnirman proposed to amend the city’s code of ordinances to allow manager with a total of 10 years service — including a minimum of five years with the city and five years previously with the state, another municipality or the military — to collect lifetime medical benefits, for themselves and their families, without an age requirement or the need to retire. The proposal also called for reducing the amount of benefits, includ including allowable accrued sick and vacation time, afforded to exempt employees, who otherwise contribute 10 percent their healthcare costs.

When Schnirman first presented the proposal at the Dec. 17 meeting, he said that the measure was intended to recruit and retain qualified employees, that seven of the city’s 20 management employees would qualify for the proposal, and that it wouldn’t impact the current budget.

But several residents criticized the proposal as unaffordable, considering that the city is still struggling financially in the wake of a financial crisis and Hurricane Sandy.

Council President Scott Mandel called to table the proposal until the Jan. 21 meeting. But the resolution was not included on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, which was postponed to Wednesday due to inclement weather. Mandel said in a statement:

“The City Council does not support the proposal and has asked the city manager to look at alternative methods for retaining and recruiting top talent as the months and years go forward. We remain focused like a laser beam on the city's physical and fiscal recovery.”

While Schnirman said last week that the proposal would need major revisions before seeing a vote, city council members this week indicated they may not want to see the proposal again, according to Newsday. Said Councilman Len Torres:

"We're grateful for hardworking folks, but right now it's not the right timing for something like that.”
Hamburger January 22, 2014 at 01:12 PM
Good job council. Do not bring it up again.
Brendan January 22, 2014 at 03:14 PM
So the council puts the CM up to this stunt and then gets to look like the big hero, shooting it down? Wait for the next proposal, which will be just slightly less outrageous, that they'll push down your throat and that will go through the CC like laxatives, all over your tax bill. Total set up.
larry teague January 22, 2014 at 03:36 PM
leave it to Torres to say something stupid. when IS the "timing" for something like that? too bad his buddies couldn't get their medical huh? "focused like a laser beam", are they kidding? focused more like a borrowing machine. have another donut
Hamburger January 22, 2014 at 04:59 PM
Good point: why would the council even allow that to get on the docket in the first place? To gauge the level of public outrage.
larry teague January 22, 2014 at 08:04 PM
better yet, how does the city manager get to put up a resolution that directly benefits him? where is the "laser focus" there?
Carly January 23, 2014 at 08:07 PM
I have to say I almost spit out my coffee when I read Mandel's hilarious laser beam simile. You can't make this stuff up.
Hamburger January 24, 2014 at 07:24 PM
I heard he has sharks with friggin laser beams


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