What a positive and great article! It is nice to know that there is alot of positive people out in our community.
Did you happen to notice that we don't have a "politician" or their work among the list?
I have worked for Flowing Wells HS and for John Pedicone - I didn't find him to be "about himself" but I did find him to be an honest, approachable easy man to work with.
Again, if people will educate themselves and "check their egos" at the door and quit working for their "own agenda" maybe, just maybe the news about TUSD will become something that all of our community can be proud of!
Just a guy: thank you for your comments and I understand. However, did you consider that out of the 5,000+ active employees that there are a large number of "older" active employees and they are included in the county's health plan - so please give that consideration too. These "older" employees can't retire because of the new high cost of United HealthCare's coverage under the state. Thus, they continue to add to the countys costs in healthcare.
Ask yourself why the county did not solicit input and work with their retirees such as the city as done. The Board of Supervisors and the county administrator continue to avoid conversations with the retirees on this issue - it is beginning to look like there is something to hide in all of this...I believe the retirees have been open to discussion in looking for solutions to the problem - yet it appears the heavy hand of government has spoken and forgot that they represent the people.
I am still baffled that in this country - we are choosing to say if the "older" person is a high user (which there is some debate on the usage) we need to eliminate them from the plan........If we all start thinking like this - everyone might as well consider dropping healthcare coverage (which is already the case for some because of the high costs) and see where we should go from there. Or better yet, just get on a government "give away plan".
Just a guy - here are some thoughts:
1) yes the "older" retiree (ages 51 to 64) in this case MAY use the health care coverage more to maintain their health - but why do we have insurance if we can't use it? Raises the question - why does one have health insurance if they are penalized by using it? It's good enough to pay the high premimums and higher out of pocket costs - but then everyone wants to drop you when you use it! In this case however, the numbers don't support the usage by this group as Huckelberry has stated.
2) As county employees we paid for retirees (this practice has been in place for the last 40 years) when we were there. I don't recall anyone complaining about higher costs to cover the retirees (knowing that someday that would be us)! Also consider that Huckelberry's numbers are inflated and the "higher costs" that the county keeps shoving down the employees throat overstated.
3) Consider the age group of the current county employees - they may be older than you think! Those employees that were getting ready to retire can't afford it now. The retiree group membership is growing in part because of the new interest of the current employees. They are now becoming aware of the TRUE costs of this issue.
Last but not least - don't be shortsighted on this issue - you may not be of "age" yet for this to be a concern - but I promise you will be! Be proactive on the issue not reactive! This group of retirees didn't get the chance - they believed in Pima county and the promise of the earned benefit of being included in the health insurance plan.
As a follow up - I offer this as additional information when you read and consider Mr. Huckelberry's spin on this situation: On December 28th Mr Huckelberry wrote a memo to the Board of Supervisors regarding his issue and in this memo he states "These retirees receive no employer contribution from the county and essentially pay the FULL premium cost."
I submit to you that he is "playing to your emotions" on this issue and misleading the taxpayer. We are all suffering during this economic time - or are we? Those with the higher salaries are busy putting their spin and justifcation for taking away earned benefits.
Mr. Huckelberry can continue to write all he wants on this subject - we can only hope that someday he get his facts straight! The TAXPAYER DOES NOT SUBSIDIZE the retiree's health care costs. That would be a gift of taxpayer money. Geez, does he really think you don't know that or is he just playing to your emotions? With his 200 thousand dollar plus salary - I don't think he has to be as concerned with what his healthcare costs will be.
As far as his statements about this groups healthcare usage......I think its been said before - but "don't trust the numbers guy" - he will always make the numbers read in favor of his decision. However in this case, their own HR department supplied us with numbers that contradict his statement. Hopefully the Board of Supervisors are taking a closer look at his decision and "his facts" before they stand with him on this issue. Why is it that Maricopa County still includes their retirees in their insurance plan and most of the larger counties do as well? Dire financial straits in Pima County - really? Have you read some of the articles on the surplus the county has?
As far as the retirees retiring before medicare eligiblity - all I can say on that is this - we all had to adhere to the Arizona State Retirement rules and policies. Most of this group has served the county for 25+ years.
I submit to you that if Huckelberry and the Board of Supervisors don't keep their promises to their own retirees - what chance as taxpayers do we have of them keeping promises to us?
What a refreshing change - a politician that can tell you where they were coming from when they voted on an issue. Thank you.
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