Some Eyebrows Raised Over Health Insurance For Watertown's Mayor

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It's not a done deal yet, but Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham would receive more than $5,000 in health insurance.

However, Councilman Joe Butler opposed the plan during Monday night's city council meeting.

"In no way is this meant to be criticism or disparaging to the mayor...I simply believe from a philosophical standpoint elected officials should not be entitled to this type of benefit," he said.

Butler says ten years ago, Mayor Graham was one of those who unanimously approved a resolution to end the city of Watertown's contribution toward health insurance for elected officials. 

Graham says he's been paying for his own health insurance all this time; the new benefit would have the city pay 75-percent of the cost. 

"I appreciate the consideration to have the situation revert to previous policy," said Graham.

The idea of reinstating health care benefits for the mayor came up in budget discussions.

"We just don't pay the position of mayor very much and I think it's a benefit that should be afforded to that position," said Councilman Steve Jennings.

The rest of the council members, Roxanne Burns and Teresa Macaluso, both say the mayor works full-time hours and deserves to have health insurance. 

Mayor Graham makes about $17,000 a year, working six hours a day, and is considered by the retirement system to be full-time. 

For the record, other cities do cover some or all of their mayors' cost for health care coverage.

Elmira and Auburn are among them. 

Ogdensburg does not.

Saturday, August 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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