FOREST CITY | Winnebago County Board of Supervisors discussed, but took no action, on the county's insurance agreement with Winnebago County Workman’s Association.
WCWA representative Ethan Schutter came before the supervisors to for approve of the insurance agreement for retirees.
County Engineer Scott Meinders said the proposed insurance agreement was the result of negotiations between the association and the county.
“This year, during the negotiations, there’s one section that ironed out, the beginning wages and the insurance for retirees, and that was taken out of the contract,” Meinders said. “I believe it was an understanding by the recommendation from [Supervisor Mike Stensrud], and because it was taken out of that contract, it’s been put into this separate agreement.”
Meinders said the insurance for retirees was in the contract in previous years but taken out this year.
Supervisor Chairman Terry Durby said the insurance was taken out of the contract because of a change in state code.
The problem with the separate agreement is the potential benefit only applies to the workman’s association, a predominately male group, and no other groups hired by the county, according to Human Resources lawyer from Des Moines Mike Galloway.
“What you’re potentially doing is, if you give it to just one group,” Galloway said. “Under a blanket policy, you’re exposing yourself to a claim.”
In the past, the supervisors have looked at each early retirement application individually and on a case-by-case basis, not a as a blanket benefit for a group of workers.
Ultimately, the board decided to readdress the issue in a closed meeting with the workman’s association during a meeting held yesterday.