A $20,000 limit on what the Macon Pensions & Retirement System board can spend on hiring outside specialists easily passed the Macon City Council’s Employee Development & Compensation Committee by a 5-0 vote Wednesday.
It requires that all contracts for larger amounts must be a “competitive selection” and be approved by City Council.
The only change in committee was the effective date, moving from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1, to allow time for full council approval. Since the issue is a charter amendment, it has to be voted on twice, said Senior Assistant City Attorney Judd Drake.
An identical ordinance dealing with the Macon Fire & Police Employees Retirement System caused controversy last month, when current fire and police board member Jimmy Hartley and former member Charlie Bishop alleged the new ordinance was an attempt to end the board’s independence. During frequent controversies over the past two years, the fire and police board has hired multiple attorneys to contest the city’s proposals.
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In the fiscal year that ended June 30, the fire and police pension fund spent $432,215.19 on outside services, including investment management, consultants, lawyers and actuarial expenses, according to city Finance Department figures.
The general employees’ pension fund spent $121,626.94 on outside services during that year.
When the fire and police pension ordinance passed, administration officials said another would be coming soon to regulate the general employees’ pension board, but that hadn’t been as much of an issue since the city already reviews that board’s contracts before they’re approved.
Stop-loss insurance OK’d
The committee also agreed 5-0 for the city to buy stop-loss insurance from Coventry Health Care of Georgia for security against outsized health insurance claims. The insurance will cost $63 per month to cover 1,192 employees, or $826,056 over the term of the 11-month contract. That cost will not be passed on to employees, Human Resources Director Ben Hubbard said.
“This is paid for by the city,” he said.
Councilman Henry Gibson asked for details on the coverage. Hubbard said the stop-loss insurance would cover costs from any employees’ catastrophic illness, from $200,000 up to $2 million per employee. The city would only be liable for claims below that amount, he said.
“Anything over $200,000, we do not have to pay,” Hubbard said.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.