CARRBORO — ******
A story Wednesday in the City & State section didn't say how individual Carrboro aldermen voted on a proposal to give health insurance benefits to some town employees and contained quotes that were misleading on the final vote. Mayor Mark Chilton and Aldermen Dan Coleman, Jacquie Gist and Randee Haven-O'Donnell voted to give stipends to part-time town employees to help pay for health insurance. Aldermen Joal Broun, John Herrera and Alex Zaffron voted against the stipends.
The Board of Aldermen voted 4-3 Tuesday night to give a stipend to part-time town employees to help them pay for health insurance.
Each of the seven part-time town employees will receive a $1,500 stipend.
The decision comes during aldermen's budget discussions for fiscal 2007-2008. Several people spoke at the public hearing last month in favor of the part-time employees receiving coverage.
Town Manager Steve Stewart recommended that the board not add the part-time employees to the town health insurance plan but suggested providing a stipend instead.
He said the town's insurance provider advised against including them on the plan because then the town would be seen as a high-risk client, and the town's health insurance premium could increase dramatically in the future.
Alderman Jacquie Gist said she supports giving health insurance coverage to the part-time employees "because it's the right thing to do. ... I think it's our moral obligation. It's how I want the world to work."
Alderman Dan Coleman did not support a stipend but wanted the employees on the town's insurance plan.
Alderman Alex Zaffron favored a stipend.
Alderman John Herrera said the board should trust Stewart's judgment since he had 32 years of experience.
Alderman Joal Broun said she believes the everyone should have health insurance, but she was hesitant because putting the part-time employees on the plan would put benefits at risk for the full-time employees.
"One of the former aldermen said it best: 'We are a rich community, but we are a poor town,' " Broun said. "I thought about it for a long time. I can agree to a stipend but no more."
Staff writer Meiling Arounnarath can be reached at 932-2004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.