Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Your Views

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Your Views

Article excerpt

The president's misplaced priorities

The adage, "Actions speak louder than words" is on vivid display in the White House as our president plans to visit Communist Cuba and its dictator, Raul Castro, but couldn't attend the funeral of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Is this the way to unite us? Is this the way to build consensus? Is this the way to end gridlock in Washington?

Philip Affuso

Ridgewood, Feb. 19

Debating Teaneck health waivers

I am writing not as a member of the Teaneck Board of Education, or as a member of the township Planning Board, but as a concerned resident.

The current "health waiver" payments to Teaneck employees are costly. Offering a lesser sum to an employee in lieu of the township paying a major portion of an approximately $30,000 annual premium is a savings. The waivers have been around since 2008 and have been audited annually six times with three different auditing agencies.

The Township Council periodically changes auditors, a good practice to ensure impartiality. Unlike prior audits, it was the last audit that expressed concern regarding waivers. We are now at the point where there is no question that the practice must be reviewed.

I'd like to see the rock throwing stop and a comprehensive analysis of how costly the alternatives, including no waivers, would have been.

The township has attempted to gain insight into the health program needs of its workers. But the questionnaire to employees was of insufficient content and poorly responded to. Among its faults, it did not even include a simple question asking whether the employee was aware of the out-of-pocket cost for the township's plan.

Having a tiered waiver based on employee longevity seems unfair. Having a specific cap, be it $5,000 or other, equally applied might be equitable. A sunset clause on providing the waiver might be justifiable. Doing away with it completely might be an option.

An annual cost to the township of $400,000 has been bandied about. What would the cost have been without the waiver or with a variation to the current waiver? Instead of being contentious, the discussions should be deliberative in order, going forward, to determine fairness to employees and to taxpayers. …

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