An inside take a look at the problems going through the Metropolis of Paterson.
PATERSON — With $20 million per 12 months presumably at stake, metropolis officers say they filed an attraction of a courtroom ruling that will have compelled Paterson on Wednesday to vary medical insurance coverage for about 2,000 workers and retirees.
The attraction permits Metropolis Corridor to delay and perhaps keep away from leaving the state well being advantages program to return to a municipal self-insurance system, officers stated.
Mayor Andre Sayegh had proclaimed the swap to the state plan to be one of the biggest accomplishments of his first year in office, a transfer he stated would save Paterson taxpayers $20 million yearly.
However the unions that characterize Paterson’s cops and firefighters have argued that the state plan supplies a diminished degree of insurance coverage, significantly for retirees, who they are saying should pay considerably extra for prescription drugs than they did underneath the self-insurance program.
The unions have argued that the Sayegh administration violated their labor contracts by imposing lesser protection with out negotiations.
A state arbitrator ruled in the union’s favor last November, and Superior Court docket Choose Ernest Caposela issued a similar decision in January, telling town it needed to change again to the earlier medical insurance coverage by July. Paterson had filed authorized papers asking the decide to rethink, however he rejected that request in a ruling on June 22.
The town now’s taking the case to the state appellate courtroom, officers stated.
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“This isn’t nearly authorized arguments — it’s concerning the monetary survival of Paterson,” stated Sayegh’s enterprise administrator, Kathleen Lengthy. “The town and its taxpayers merely can not afford a return to a pricey, self-insured well being care plan for metropolis workers with no cease loss protection.
“It could saddle our present finances with at the least an extra $20 million yearly and would result in cuts to important providers and layoffs of personnel from all departments, together with police and hearth,” Lengthy added.
However the unions have argued that the change has been unfair to retirees, who they are saying left their metropolis jobs with contractual assurances that they might get a sure degree of medical insurance coverage. The unions stated town has ignored their effort to handle the revised well being advantages in negotiations.
Joe Malinconico is editor of Paterson Press. E-mail: email@example.com
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