Local News

Vote Over Benefits Angers Clayton Employees

Posted December 8, 2003 9:29 a.m. EST

— Town leaders in Clayton are in the middle of a bitter fight over benefits.

The Town Council recently approved a measure that provides lifetime health benefits for elected officials.

The town would pick up half of the current $370 tab for elected officials who have served two terms or eight straight years.

The trouble is, town employees have to work 20 years to get the same benefits.

Councilman Robert Ahlert cast the only no vote against the policy. He said it is an unfair financial burden on the town.

"Say a person lives for 20 years after he was off, that's $40,000 in today's dollars and medical insurance costs are rising," he said.

Councilwoman Kathleen Boykin supported the policy, but is having second thoughts because of the grassroots backlash.

"I think we all didn't realize what the ramifications were going to be," she said. "I'm under the impression from the citizens that they don't want one penny of their money going towards this."

When the council meets on Dec. 15, it is expected they will get an earful from residents who want the policy changed or scrapped.

Right now, only two council members would be eligible for health benefits under the policy.