By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Sullivan—who also benefits from the taxpayer-funded health plan—said that he and other part-time council members work well more than 40 hours per week and thus should be entitled to some job benefits. But he also believes it's unfair that council members enjoy a generous medical plan that is out of reach of just about every other part-time worker in the city.
"Obviously, having triplets at her age—which is well over 40—there was a month or more in the hospital, so I would imagine the figure is pretty large," Sullivan said. "Although it is a part-time job, there's a lot of stress that could get you into [medical] trouble."
As an example, Sullivan referred to former Surf City mayor Dave Garofalo, who left office last year following a criminal investigation but not before he received taxpayer-funded heart surgery.
"He had open heart surgery, and I'm sure that was a pretty big bill, too," Sullivan said. "But there should be some relation between the average benefits the taxpayers in the city have themselves and what city employees get. I submit there's a vast difference between those two things. There's a real imbalance."
But one of the city's most vocal critics of city-employee benefits, Chuck Scheid, said he doesn't care about Houchen's triplets or the fact that council members receive full medical benefits.
"It's a perk; hell, let's face it," he said. "And it can be a very valuable one, I guess. I don't find anything wrong with it per se, or even that a part-time employee doesn't get it and a part-time elected person does. They tend to get more than the man in the street."Research assistance by Warren Binder and Lauren Korduner.