News and Tribune

Floyd County

March 14, 2013

Audit: England should repay money to city

Former mayor defends benefits for retired, non-union employees

(Continued)

NEW ALBANY —

“Mayor England did not grant or create new insurance plans for individuals,” Robison stated in the response.  “He authorized, through executive order, certain employees with a minimum amount of years service with the city health insurance options upon their retirement to receive the same option as a union retiree.” 

England said there are non-union employees who have dedicated multiple years of service to the city, and that they deserve the same benefits as bargaining workers. 

He said Gahan should consider having the policy approved, and that his goal was to be fair to all employees. 

“I have not done anything immoral,” England said. 

The audit and issues in question are to be reviewed by the Indiana Attorney General’s office, England said. 

“We’re not going to do anything until I hear from the attorney general, and we’ll go from there,” he said. 

The audit also requested England and former New Albany Firefighter Nicholas Shavers pay back $5,200 in insurance benefits. According to the audit, Shavers was terminated by the city in August of 2011, yet continued to receive insurance coverage for three additional months. 

The $5,200 requested reimbursement includes the city-paid costs for health, dental and life insurance for Shavers during the three-month period in question.

Robison also stated in his response to the audit that Shavers was allowed by ordinance to remain on the plan as authorized by England. 

The audit also stated England didn’t have the power to enact an executive order allowing seven workers to count their collective time as city employees toward their vacation time. 

Essentially England’s 2008 executive order allowed workers who had been rehired by the administration to base their vacation time on their total number of years as a city employee. 

The order provided those employees with more vacation time than if their paid time off had been based on their most recent tenure as a public worker. 

Again, Robison sided with England in his response, as he stated city ordinances permit the mayor to establish personnel policies by executive order . 

Charlie Pride, supervisor of cities, towns and libraries for the State Board of Accounts, wasn’t immediately available for comment Wednesday. A copy of the audit is available through the department’s website at www.in.gov/sboa. 

 

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