Council votes to override mayor’s wage ordinance veto

Bellevue Council voted unanimously Tuesday to override the mayor's veto of the 2013 salary ordinance, although it is unclear whether the changes wanted by the mayor will be enacted in an amendment to that ordinance later this year.

Mayor George Doscher had vetoed the ordinance adopted Dec. 27, stating that he objected to administrative employees being required to contribute 7 percent of the cost of their health insurance while union employees contribute only 5 percent.

Until this year, noncontract employees had been contributing 10 percent of the insurance costs. Doscher said that council had promised the employees, who were the first to contribute, that their contribution rate would match that of the union employees once contracts had been negotiated.

Some council members -- among them Jim Scisciani and Mark Helbling -- agreed that the rate should be the same for all.

"I want to make it a level playing field for all employees," said Scisciani.

Letting the veto stand, however, would have meant that the 2012 ordinance remained in effect, with noncontract employees contributing 10 percent and no one receiving salary increases.

Council member Jane Braunlich said that with changes in the health insurance premiums and the reduced contribution rate of 7 percent, administrative employees would save $400 in 2013.

Director of administrative services Doug Sample said that reducing the noncontract employees' contribution to 5 percent would cost the borough $1,300.

Braunlich pointed out that although the mayor had vetoed the ordinance, the 7 percent contribution rate actually was taken from the mayor's own proposed budget presented to council in November. She also noted that Doscher had not questioned the rate during three meetings held to consider the ordinance.

"If you wanted 5 percent, why didn't you put it in the budget?" questioned council member Susan Viscusi, who agreed that Doscher had been given adequate time to bring his concerns to council before the ordinance was adopted.

Council president Linda Woshner said that all employees should be contributing at least 7 percent of what she called "an excellent plan" of benefits, which has no deductible, no co-pay, and reduced premiums this year. The contribution rate for police officers was set at 5 percent in arbitration.

Doscher agreed. "I'd like to see everybody at 7 percent, but that didn't happen," he said.

Council member Frank Camello was absent.

Google Video