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City votes to end continuation of councilors’ benefits

Caitlin Rickard • Updated Oct 2, 2013 at 10:19 PM

Lebanon City Council met in a special session Wednesday, where they approved on final reading to eliminate the continuation of health and life insurance benefits for elected city councilors.

Previously, the council met in a work session to discuss the issue, which was brought up by Councilor Rob Cesternino. They then passed the ordinance on first reading at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The ordinance is only set to affect half of the councilors, with Fred Burton, Kathy Warmath and Joe Hayes already earning the benefits.

The vote would replace a Lebanon municipal code that states “any city of Lebanon elected official who serves two consecutive terms of office may continue city of Lebanon health and life insurance benefits upon attaining the age 62 and making application for coverage.”

The new ordinance would delete this aforementioned section entirely and replace it with three ways an employee of the city of Lebanon or elected mayor can become eligible for service retirement and continuation of health and life insurance benefits.

The new code would state those could earn these benefits if they completed 30 years of service under the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, with the last 10 consecutive years being with the city of Lebanon.

The second way would be if the councilor reached 60 years old and completed 10 years of service under the rules of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, the last 10 consecutive years being with Lebanon.

The last eligibility requirement would be an elected mayor would serve two or more consecutive with Lebanon upon reaching 62 years old.

Councilors elected after the approval of this ordinance that weren’t eligible for the benefits before the approval would not earn benefits. This includes Rob Cesternino, Lanny Jewell and Tick Bryan.

“When we’re done serving the people, they shouldn’t have to serve us,” Cesternino said.

Councilors would still have the benefits while they are in office.

Council also passed on final reading an ordinance that would appropriate funds for the purchase and renovation of 215 Maddox Simpson Parkway for a new Gas Department property.

The department will relocate from its current 1017 Sparta Pike location, which it shares with the Public Safety Department.

The city will purchase the site from T&L Transportation and Motor Coach Industries for $750,000.

“Timing is everything, and the timing is now to move this building over to a new location,” Baines said. “It’s a clean site and a great location and I think it’s a great opportunity.”

Council also approved purchases of six in-car video systems and accessories for the Police Department, a Gator utility vehicle for the Recreation Department and 600 refuse carts for the Sanitation Department.

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