Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Warren council members treat selves to golden parachute before leaving office

Posted By on Tue, Nov 19, 2019 at 1:51 PM

click to enlarge Warren Mayor Jim Fouts. - CITY OF WARREN
  • City of Warren
  • Warren Mayor Jim Fouts.

Just two months before Warren City Council members were to be term-limited out of office, they quickly and quietly treated themselves to a golden parachute at taxpayers’ expense.

The council voted unanimously on Sept. 10 to give themselves and their eligible dependents free lifetime health insurance and dental coverage. There was no discussion or debate, and the council didn't add the measure to its agenda.

The seven-member council didn’t bother to determine how much the sweetheart deal would cost taxpayers or how the benefits would even be funded, according to video of the meeting.



Six of the seven council members left office in November.

Calling the council’s actions “unconscionable beyond my wildest imaginations,” Warren Mayor Jim Fouts says his administration won't honor the council's lifetime benefits, setting the stage for a potential legal battle. Fouts' says the measure violated state law because it did not include a mandated review of the costs.

“I’m outraged and angry about this unbelievable action by the city council to vote unanimously for a golden parachute benefit package without proper notification to the Mayor, City Attorney, Human Resources Director or any person of responsibility in city hall,” Fouts said in a statement. “This was purposely not communicated with my administration and myself personally until after the 72-hour period for the Mayor’s veto.”

Fouts said he was even unaware of the vote until recently. The council’s actions remained a secret outside of city hall until The Macomb Daily revealed what happened on Sunday.

The new council plans to take up the issue at its next meeting on Nov. 26.

“We have many questions,” new council president Patrick Green says in a statement. “We did not create this mess, but we will absolutely see it resolved.”

Council members who voted for the measure were Robert Boccomino, Kelly Colegio, Cecil St. Pierre, Keith Sadowski, Scott Stevens, Steven Warner, and Ronald Papandrea. The only returning council member is Papandrea, who couldn't be reached for comment.
     
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