8/26/14 Update After receiving thoughtful comments and email from several people I believe Gonser may have misspoke about a potential hard cap on the employee benefit plan. He probably intended to say that the Township’s liability for the premiums for the plan may be limited to $16,000/yr.
Thank you Patricia, Marty, Thomas and Phillip for your willingness participate in our efforts to inform our community about our local government.
At the August 12, 2014 Board meeting Supervisor Gonser suggested that, in its search for a less costly employee health plan, the board could consider a plan that caps the amount of annual benefits at $16,000. No member of the board spoke against his idea even though it could mean financial ruin for any employee of average means who had even a moderately serious health problem. I was struck by how his meager $16,000 cap would have served a member of my immediate family who, in June, fell, broke her leg and required surgery. Her hospitalization, surgery and rehabilitation has, as of 7/29, cost over $141,000. If an Oakland Township employee had sustained this accidental injury and was subject to Gonser’s proposed $16,000 annual cap, the employee would need to pay over $125,000.
This is another example of why, months ago, the Board of Trustees wisely refused to delegate any administrative responsibilities to Supervisor Gonser. Township Manager Ann Capela retains responsibility for all the administrative duties enumerated in state law. So where does Gonser come up with the authority and audacity to embarrass the whole Township with such mean-spirited, insensitive and draconian pronouncements?
It is time for the Board of Trustees to enforce their decision and reign-in the Supervisor. He, by law and our Board’s actions, should only chair the meetings, do photo-ops and ride in the Christmas Parade. Manager Capela, under direction of the entire Board, should have full authority over the Township administration.
Here is the video containing Gonser’s remarks and discussion by the Board.