NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 8, 2014

Selectmen OK raises for town employees, officials

Move comes two weeks after vote to freeze discretionary spending

(Continued)

Khan rejects insurance coverage

In another move that should cut more than $30,000 from the bottom line of this year’s budget, Khan yesterday said he won’t be taking the town’s health insurance benefits. A perk selectmen voted to restore for themselves at their March 24 meeting, health insurance coverage for the three selectmen is controversial because Town Meeting cut the $87,000 line item that funded the cost.

On the same day that they voted to freeze spending, hiring, overtime and the next two budgets, selectmen said they were “reprogramming the budget” and reallocating the $87,121 to pay for the health and dental insurance benefits selectmen have been offered since 1985.

After consulting with town attorney Robert Ciandella, selectmen said they could reinstitute the spending for their insurance coverage by moving money around in the budget because voters approved the budget total and not each line item.

But after two weeks of living with the decision, Khan said that it isn’t worth the fallout it caused.

“I’ve told the town manager I would not be taking the health insurance,” Khan said after yesterday’s meeting. “I’ve already purchased new insurance for my family.”

Khan said his move isn’t intended to force his fellow selectmen to follow in his footsteps.

“If they want to keep the insurance, that’s their decision,” Khan said. “I’m doing this because the situation that had developed around it was affecting my decision-making. I just want to more forward.”

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