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Council members vote to reject Boydston health benefits claim

Posted: November 12, 2013 9:43 p.m.
Updated: November 12, 2013 9:43 p.m.

Santa Clarita City Council members voted in closed session Tuesday to reject a claim by Councilman TimBen Boydston where he alleged the city’s tiered health benefit system was not properly adopted and caused him to lose out on almost $10,000 in compensation.

The vote was 3-0 in favor of rejecting the claim, according to City Attorney Joe Montes. Boydston abstained from voting on the item and Councilman Frank Ferry was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

The city’s tiered system went into effect in 2011 and differentiates the amount of cash-in-lieu benefits council members or employees can receive if they elect not to enroll in a health insurance plan.

The city provides $1,016.58 a month to employees and council members to go toward purchasing insurance.

Employees hired or council members elected before Jan. 1, 2011, have the option to receive the balance of those benefits as taxable cash, while those who join the city after that date, including Boydston, can receive $214.62 a month.

In his claim, which was filed with the city in October, Boydston wrote that during his time on the council this disparity has resulted in him receiving $9,623.52 less in compensation than he is entitled to.

Changes to the city’s health benefits were approved by council members in December 2010, but due to an omission on the part of city staff, the council did not vote on changes to the cash-in-lieu benefits then.

Council members later discussed and reaffirmed changes to the tiered health benefit system in meetings in October and November 2012.

“The council does not have the latitude to institute changes to council compensation almost two years later, having never done so in public,” Boydston wrote in his claim.

Mayor Bob Kellar said after the meeting that he had no comment on the vote.
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