Mayor Bland Vetoes Council's Healthcare Decision

By: Candace Barnette Email
By: Candace Barnette Email

Mayor Percy Bland announced he is vetoing the Council's decision not to switch the city's healthcare provider from Fox/Everett to United Healthcare. However, most council members don't anticipate any change in their opinions.

"My mind's pretty made up. I thought I made a pretty sound decision as it relates to both issues, healthcare and salaries, when we first voted," said Ward 2 Councilman Dustin Markham. "So unless there's something overwhelmingly compelling that he didn't share with us before or there are some circumstances that have changed materially, then I really don't see the need."

The Council must now vote again on the healthcare issue. They will need a four to one majority to retain their current coverage under Fox/Everett - which was the original vote on Tuesday. But even Ward 5 Councilman Randy Hammon, who voted in favor of a switch to United Healthcare, says it is extremely unlikely for anyone to change their vote this time.

"I don't believe they're going to change anyone's minds. We've been through this two and a half months. We've heard all the appeals, we've heard all the department heads, from Mr. Goldacker, Mr. Bland and even the lawyers," Hammon said. "This is what we've come down to as a budget."

The mayor stated in a news release that the savings were too big to ignore - over a quarter of a million dollars projected. He continues to say there will be enough time to make a transition to United Healthcare. But council members aren't so sure.

"I'm willing to come back maybe around June or July 2014," said Ward 4 Councilwoman Kim Houston. "My thing is I'm just not comfortable with this little time frame between now and October 1."


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