MASON CITY, Iowa - In a contentious vote, the Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors voted to end paid health care benefits for some retired employees.
Tom Meyer, director for administrative services said, "This was a very tough decision for the supervisors. We have a lot of good employees and this is no way a reflection on the employees and the kind of job they do."
To qualify for the benefit, an employee would have to be hired before 2010 and have 30 years of service by the age of 58. About 1oo more employees who have not retired could have been eligible.
"As claims increase and there's more people on the plan, then there's a cost to that too, because we're self-insured, so that cost is borne by the taxpayers," said Meyer.
Supervisors Chris Watts and Casey Callanan voted to end the extended benefits, while Tim Latham voted no, saying it was unfair to those who served the county for so many years.
Supervisor Watts told KIMT that this type of benefit is unheard of.
"No other county in the state of Iowa has had a program like this. I have my own thoughts on why it was enacted in the beginning, but it should have never been."
The benefit won't go away until county union contracts expire in 3 years.