If Bethlehem City Council is really serious about saving money, they should start with themselves. Here's an idea! Since health care costs are spiraling out of control, why not eliminate the Cadillac health care benefits? Part-time City Council members, along with members of their family, don't have to worry about the medical and dental bills that plague everyone else. Let the taxpayers subsidize them, they say. This is sweet.
Lehigh and Northampton County's part-time legislators, who probably spend more time on the job than city council members, get no such benefit. Nor do most Township or Borough governments, where the focus is on public service. Locally, Easton City Council members stick it to the taxpayer for their health care costs, but they have a commuter tax.
In 2012, when John Callahan was still Mayor, he attempted to stop the obscene practice of letting taxpayers fund the health plans for these part-timers. He said it could save $70,000, though I think the savings is closer to about $20,000-30,000 per Council member.
Not surprisingly, Mike Recchiuti, the very Council member who proposed a freeze hiring because he so concerned about out-of-control costs, was unwilling to make any cuts that might impact him. Karen Dolan also voted this idea down.
So basically, these members of Council are willing to impose a hiring freeze that will reduce City services, but want to keep services that directly benefit them. In fact, last year, Dolan wanted to give city Council a raise.
They support cost cutting services to you, but not to them.