In August 1977 South Portland city councilors voted themselves health insurance at your expense. Every year since there has been a line item on the annual city budget to fund 100 percent of the cost of individual health insurance to each councilor, plus a portion of dependent insurance, if taken. There are many problems with this, but due to limited space I will address what I believe to be the most important and egregious abuse of power.
First, it is my opinion and many others’ that it is ethically and morally corrupt for any sitting legislative body to vote themselves taxpayer money for their own benefit. Some of the councilors that are taking this will tell you they did not vote this in. What they fail to say is that every year they approve the city budget with that payment in it. They do not have to do that; it can and should be defunded.
It is very clear in our City Charter that councilor compensation is $3,000. End of story. The city also recently received an unbiased outside opinion from an attorney that health insurance qualifies as compensation and thus is not allowed. Councilor Coward dismissed our 131 signatures to stop this as a few people bringing up the issue over and over again. It’s time for the citizens of South Portland to be heard. Obey the charter.