related: CNBNEWS TIPS AND SNIPPETS
by Bill Cleary
HOW MUCH DOES GLOUCESTER CITY PAY? NJ State Comptroller Matthew Boxer recently released findings of a study on the cost of providing health insurance for public employees throughout the state. According to the March 1 report many communities who don’t have the state’s Health Plan are overpaying.
For example Boxer’s report found that insurance brokers working for Essex, Brick, East Brunswick and Haddon Township charged $1 million in fees between 2009 and 2010. The state health plan doesn’t levy those fees and charges less because it has more people in its system, the report said.
Recently the Washington Township Republican Council announced it had moved township employees on to the New Jersey State Health Benefits plan saving taxpayers over $1 million this year.
CNBNews asked Gloucester City Administrator Jack Lipsett for information about the City’s Health Insurance Plan. Lipsett said the City for the last 15 years has been a member of the Southern New Jersey Municipal Employee Benefit Fund (SNJMEBF).
“The plan insures 145 City employees, along with 51 retirees for a yearly cost of $2,163,012. Each member and their immediate family receives full coverage for prescriptions, medical, dental and optical. Each year we advertise for proposals. Our broker is Conner, Strong and Buckelew.”
George Norcross III, is chairman of that brokerage firm. He is also one of the most powerful political bosses in the state of New Jersey.
Lipsett was asked if the City compared the cost for insurance with the state's Health Plan?
“Almost every community in Camden County belongs to the SNJMEBF. There are about 45 school districts in this area that are also members. We looked at the state’s plan last year and found that the City would save money in the first year but in the second year the cost could increase by 22 percent. Compared that figure to the City’s present plan. It only increased 3.74 percent between 2011 and 2012. That is a big difference. Also members of the SNJMEBF receive yearly dividends.”
Asked why he thought the Comptroller’s report was so critical of communities who don’t belong to the State’s Health Plan? “I rather not comment,” he said.
For a copy of the Comptroller’s report visit http://www.nj.gov/comptroller/news/approved/news_archives.html
Et Cetera -Administrator Lipsett was asked, What has Mayor and Council been working on recently?
“The City has filed for a grant through Camden County to resurface the basketball and tennis courts at Johnson Blvd. and Nicholson Rd. They are in bad shape. We hope to be successful in being awarded this $25,000 grant”.
Lipsett added, “The reconstruction of Monmouth Street will be starting in the next four weeks. This is a total reconstruction of the street from Broadway to Brown Street. Also, Phase two of the Broadway Streetscape will be getting started this year. That will be from Monmouth to Hudson Streets.”
Mayor and council approved a resolution at the March 22 council meeting authorizing an Inter local services agreement between the Board of Education and the City of Gloucester City to continue with presence of resource officers in the schools. The School District will pay the City the sum of $62,885 for said resource officer. The agreement shall terminate June 30,2013. At the same meeting authorization was given to pay monthly bills totaling $624,398.
A Nationwide Survey Cites New Jersey’s OSC for its Independence and Productivity-The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) has been recognized in a nationwide survey that ranks New Jersey first in the nation in terms of promoting transparency and accountability in state government.
The survey, released March 21 by the Center for Public Integrity, gives New Jersey an “A” in several categories on its “corruption risk report card,” including Internal Auditing. The survey based the Internal Auditing grade on a review of OSC policies and practices as well as OSC’s enabling legislation.
The survey, titled the “State Integrity Investigation,” specifically recognized OSC for producing public reports on a regular basis, for its ability to independently initiate its own investigations and for providing the public with immediate access to OSC audits.
Camden County Regional Police Department-The Camden County Board of Freeholders has placed advertisements in two daily newspapers seeking people interested as possible applicants for a Camden City Metro Division of a Camden County Police Department. According to the press release this process will be used to identify interested individuals that would like to pursue a career in law enforcement and for the governing entity to build a healthy pool of applicants.
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