The officers of the
Chesterton Police Department and their brothers in Teamsters Local 142
filled the meeting room of the town hall on Monday night, to hear a union
attorney accuse the Town Council of fiduciary irresponsibility.
At issue: the
Teamsters is interested in bidding its healthcare plan to CPD officers but
to do so needs, among other things, an employee census and claim history.
The town, however, has not yet provided that information, prompting Local
142 attorney Paul Berkowitz to express his surprise that a municipality
would not know its own claim history.
“I’m astounded you
could get bids from anyone without knowing your claim history,” Berkowitz
Oh, the town knows
its claim history, Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson said in reply.
The council is just
not choosing to share it with Local 142 at this time, until a determination
has been made that it’s legal to do so under the Public Records Act,
inasmuch as a release of sensitive medical information to a party not a
business associate could constitute a HIPAA violation.
Member Jeff Trout,
R-2nd, meanwhile noted that the Town of Chesterton already provides
healthcare to its municipal employees. But the Local 142 “wants to provide
it just to police officers, which might turn the apple cart over a little
smacks of “fiduciary irresponsibility,” Berkowitz said. The union healthcare
plan can save from $1,500 to $4,500 per employee. “Why would you not want to
save a lot of money? That’s an embarrassment.”
convinced we can save,” Trout said, then outlined a scenario in which, after
a year or two under the plan, backloaded premium increases might take
effect. “If healthcare costs go up, somebody has to pay for them.”
Berkowitz then told
the council that he would like a formal written response to Local 142’s
request for information.
Trout said that
such a response would be provided and indicated too that the town will
likely have a list of information which it needs from Local 142.