Chesterfield Township Clerk Jan Uglis cannot receive credit for four years of prior township service for medical retiree benefits, a board majority voted Monday night.
Request to bridge gap for health benefits
In a Nov. 14 letter to the Board of Trustees, Uglis wrote, "As you are all well aware, I lost my bid for re-election Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. As a former Township trustee (1984-88) and township clerk (1992-96), I have eight years of dedicated service, although not consecutive due to election losses.
"I have 12 consecutive years of service to the community as an eight-year employee of the township police department and four years as a current township clerk. I am requesting that the township board take into consideration my 38 years of dedication to Chesterfield not only as an elected official, but also as a volunteer," she wrote.
She asked the board to allow her to bridge the four years she previously served as clerk to add her total employee time to 16 years, in order for retiree medical benefits to continue. She noted during the meeting that she has Medicare, so the township's Blue Cross policy would be her secondary insurance carrier.
Uglis said the current board had extended the same courtesy in the past to a former elected official, current spouses of former employees and former employees.
"I'm asking for retiree medical benefits; I'm not asking for retiree benefits," she said, later adding, "I have given a lot to the community."
Board cites economy among reasons for 'no' vote
"I'm afraid if we get into this now, in this economic climate, we might be getting into a catch 22 situation ... that could lead to more problems down the road," Trustee Brian (Scott) DeMuynck said.
Trustee Michele Ficht, who pointed out she did not vote in favor for a similar request in the past, said, "It's not a good economy right now and I just can't support it."
Treasurer Linda Hartman added, "Jan is right. Jan has put a lot of years in the township and I do believe she deserves this."
But Hartman said it was Uglis' decision to run for public office.
"She had her insurance and she chose to gamble," Hartman said. "I think the fairest thing to do is deny it."
Supervisor Michael Lovelock and Uglis were the sole board members to vote in favor of the request. DeMuynck, Hartman, Ficht and Trustees Christine Bell and Jerry Alexie turned it down. Two citizens criticized the board for rejecting Uglis' request, including Joe Miller who ran unsuccessfully for township supervisor against Lovelock.
It was the last board meeting for Ficht and Alexie, who were presented plaques for their service, and Uglis who filed for an election recount in her race against Cindy Berry. The new trustees, Hank Anderson and David Joseph, were sworn in Friday while the returning board members were sworn in Monday night.