The Shawnee City Commission voted Monday night to begin a five-member committee to review insurance providers and consultants regarding city employee health insurance, before making a recommendation to the commission.
The committee will be made up of three commissioners and two employees who will work with consultants to gather quotes and then recommend an insurance company to the commission.
The city commission would then make the final decision on whether or not to accept any contracts.
This move removes the decision-making from a 16-member group made up solely of city employees. The group may continue to meet, but will serve a strictly advisory position in order to help the committee established by the city commission.
Several city employees appeared in opposition to the change proposed by the Vice Mayor James Harrod.
Harrod said he believed that in order to best serve the tax payers, the commission must in control of the decision making process.
The city contributes $1.7 million to employee health insurance. This amount is capped, so if costs rise, employees pay the difference. Additionally employees pay 100 percent of vision, dental and supplemental life insurance.
Commissioner Pam Stephens opposed changes to the group, and instead suggested the city commission place two commissioners into the already formed 16-member group.
Harrod said he had repeated requested information from the group, which he had not received.
Commissioner Linda Agee said that any decision made could be later reversed and she emphasized that if placed on the newly formed committee, that she would keep the employees best interests at heart.
Commissioner Keith Hall explained that he wants to be able to tell taxpayers that the $1.7 million the city contributes was spent wisely, but said the way the group was run – with no oversight from commissioners – he could not do that.
The motion carried 4-2, with Mayor Wes Mainord, Agee, Hall, and Harrod voting in the affirmative. Commissioner John Winterringer and Stephens voted against. Commissioner Steve Smith was absent.
The commission did not appoint members to the committee, but City Manager Brian McDougal assured the commission that it could be done before the city’s open enrollment.
Agee said she would call a special call meeting in order to discuss and appointment the members to the committee.