Stanton : Council to Reconsider Members' Benefits Pact

Following up on a pledge to eliminate city-paid health and retirement benefits for future members, the City Council on Tuesday will consider amending its contract with the California Public Employees Retirement System.

Current council members enrolled in the retirement program will keep their benefits. In 1977, the council granted itself eligibility for the benefits, which are similar to those received by many Orange County city councils.

Mayor Jean Siriani recently called the benefits "particularly objectionable." The city pays up to $200 per month per council member for the health insurance.

A council member need serve only five years and reach the age of 50 to be eligible for the same benefits earned by full-time city employees. While regular employees work 40 hours a week, council members put in "as little or as much time as they choose," Siriani said.

"But the thing that is most objectionable is that whether you're recalled or defeated or flat-out quit, these benefits go on for the rest of your life," he said.

In its first meeting after the November election, the new council directed the city attorney to prepare an ordinance to eliminate the benefits for elected officials. Two incumbents were ousted in that election.

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