Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st, is urging residents to contact their state
legislators and urge them--now and forcefully--to take meaningful action at
the Department of Child Services (DCS), whose director resigned last month
after blasting Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration for service cuts at
agency, at the same time that the opioid crisis has been putting increasing
numbers of children in jeopardy.
“The DCS crisis is
the result of the opioid crisis,” Ton said at Monday’s meeting. “Many
children are being neglected and abused. Caseloads are tremendous. Children
are paying the price of the opioid crisis because families are falling
apart. We have children in danger, in extreme danger.”
Ton’s warning comes
less than a week after the two most powerful Republicans in the General
Assembly said they have no plans to take action to address the DCS crisis.
House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate leader David Long told the Associated
Press that they prefer a study group convened by Gov. Holcomb to finish its
review of DCS first. That probably won’t be done, however, until after the
legislative session is over, the AP reported.
Ton called on
residents to contact their legislators and tell them to make DCS a priority
in their plans for the session.
In other business,
members agreed by consensus to continue the following policies:
* A $1,000 annual
disbursement to each municipal employee’s health savings account, plus an
additional match of up to $500 per employee for deposit into his or her HSA.
* An earn-back of
up to $550 per employee on his or her annual health insurance premiums, by
making use of the Wellness Program’s portal and by attending all or some of
that program’s five Lunch & Learns scheduled for the year.
Members also agreed
to switch dental insurance carriers to Lincoln Financial, which is offering
a higher annual maximum coverage of $250; and--for out-of-network dentists--
“usual and customary” coverage in place of “maximum allowable coverage,”
under which the amount paid by municipal employees will be reflective of the
prevailing rates charged by local dentists.
Local 4600 Contract
voted unanimously to renew the town’s contract with International
Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 1400, representing the
firefighters of the Town of Chesterton.
Attorney Julie Paulson said that the renewed agreement is substantially
identical to the old one, with this exception: the contract was revised to
reflect more closely the Personnel Policy Handbook’s language on vacation.
Among other things,
the agreement provides for the following: Local 4600 members may meet at the
fire station, may post notices on a bulletin board at the station, may hold
elections at the station, and shall have their dues deducted from their
paycheck and remitted by the town to IAFF.
The agreement also
binds both labor and management to I.C. 36-8-22-15, which prohibits public
safety employees from engaging in work stoppages, strikes, and walkouts.