“Lots of employees are getting into accidents”: Montgomery County Commissioners Court votes itself giant employee benefits increases

“Lots of employees are getting into accidents”: Montgomery County Commissioners Court votes itself giant employee benefits increases

Image: The Montgomery County Commissioners Court is bleeding out County taxpayers with massive spending increases even before the so-called “budget hearing” begins.

Conroe, May 14 – With Montgomery County Budget Director Amanda Carter announcing that the Commissioners Court’s decisions to give County vehicles to many County employees rather than car allowances is resulting in “lot of employees are getting into accidents,” the Montgomery County Commissioners Court didn’t bat an eye lash in approving $2,464,980 in new expenditures for employee benefits during the Tuesday, May 14, 2019, Commissioners Court meeting.

What made the decision even more shocking is the manner in which the entire vote came before the Commissioners Court.

The entirety of the agenda item on the May 14 Commissioners Court agenda read: “Consider and approve funding factors for the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget.” There was no backup information attached to the agenda. There was no mention of what were “funding factors.”

Carter, however, handed the members of the Commissioners Court a memorandum, which she prepared. The entire secret memorandum from Carter to the members of the Commissioners Court appears at the end of this article, as The Golden Hammer obtained a copy after the meeting concluded.

With almost no discussion or review, the Commissioners Court approved the massive increase in spending.

Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack asked how many retired County employees were a part of the retiree medical coverage, an employee benefit Montgomery County provides, even though almost private companies do so and even very few county governments provide that incredibly lucrative benefit. Carter answered, “364.”

County taxpayers are, therefore, paying $9,890.00 per year for retired County government employees to receive free medical care at a cost to taxpayers of $3,599,960.00 per year!

The total employee benefits the Commissioners Court blindly approved are:

  • Employee Medical Coverage, which is obviously a “Cadillac” medical plan costing $11,466.00 per year per employee. In Fiscal Year 2020, the increase will be to $12,039.30. With approximately 2,600 total employees, County taxpayers pay $29,811,600 for medical coverage for the County government. The increase, which the Commissioners Court approved yesterday was $573.30 per employee, or $1,490,500 approximately. That seems like a lot of money to approve with no discussion or oversight.
  • Retiree Medical Coverage, also the “Cadillac” of such coverage. The increase alone will cost taxpayers $207,480, with the total cost of $3,599,960.00.
  • Workers Compensation. The Commissioners Court voted to increase the funding level by 24.42% from $1,085,000 to $1,350,000, a $265,000 increase.
  • Property & Casualty. The Commissioners Court voted to increase the funding level from $1,898,000 to $2,400,000, a 26.42% increase.

Clearly, the members of the Commissioners Court have far less knowledge about the complexities of these issues than members of the public. For example, Bill O’Sullivan, “The Sage of Montgomery County,” sat in the Courtroom while the Court briefly examined these major issues. O’Sullivan is an insurance expert and precisely the type of outsider whom the Court should have consulted prior to making such a rash decision.

With the current Consumer Price Index (rate of inflation) hovering around 0.5% annualized, approving these massive increases in “funding factors” to benefit themselves directly seems unconscionable.

Budget Director Amanda Carter’s secret memorandum to the Commissioners Court re employee benefit funding factors which will immensely increase County government spending for Fiscal Year 2020.

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