Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr. today released a letter sent to the City Clerk calling for an explanation into why additional healthcare insurance premiums were not collected from Newark employees as required by 2011 state law reforming pension and health benefits.
In the letter, Ramos said the previous administration had attested that the City of Newark was withdrawing the appropriate amount for employee health benefits as required by the the Pension and Health Benefit Reform Law that took effect on June 28, 2011.
The councilman’s letter was released on the same day the state Local Finance Board approved the city’s budget by a 4-0 vote. The state has oversight of the city’s finances because Newark received $10 million in additional state aid to help plug a $93 million budget deficit for 2014.
Tom Neff, the board's chairman, criticized the city for not collecting the additional payments, causing taxpayers to make up the difference.
“We would strongly suggest this city needs to begin collecting those payments ASAP,” Neff said.
Ramos said as a show of good faith, the city should retroactively collect the additional payments as required under the law from directors and managers.
“However, the working men and women of the city should not be penalized for the city’s oversight and we should request that the DCA waive retroactive payments from other city workers,” Ramos said.
In order to lead by example, Ramos requested the clerk's office to make arrangements to ensure that the appropriate contribution toward the cost of my health benefits is made on my behalf retroactively.