Saturday, March 16, 2013

Insurance update

Here's what we know about insurance: - It's going to cost us money. This is being done to save the town money, and the rest will come from us as town employees. - There's no legal lever to stop this change, and I've not been made aware of an effective political lever to stop it. - We'll know the nature of the changes by mid-April. - The date any changes will go into effect is July 1, 2013. What we don't know: - How we'll be obtaining our insurance. Proposals mooted have included through the state's GIC, the county's Mayflower group, or remaining with self-insured Wareham. - From which providers we'll be choosing. Blue Cross may remain a choice, or possibly not. - What will cost more: premiums, copays, deductibles, or some combination of all of them. I will say this: Derek Sullivan has been working in good faith with the employees of the Town of Wareham, and has proven approachable and open-minded in finding ways to make these changes as smooth and accessible for members. The issue is that this question is outside everyone's area of expertise, so as we work with consultants obtained by the WEA/MTA and the Town, we discover, balance, and sometimes dispose of alternatives. Nothing is decided at ths point. I have changed my mind not a couple times based on new information. Often, we are not just comparing dollar amounts, but trying to put a value on non-monetary questions -- what is it worth to keep Blue Cross? What is it worth to remain with or leave the management of the Town of Wareham? I will be updating the Board of the WEA at our April 1 meeting at the WHS library and perhaps asking for a vote if the situation crystallized by then. The meeting, like all WEA Board meetings, is open to all members.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Insurance, budget, and evaluations

On insurance, a meeting has been scheduled for March 7. All indications are that the town is moving ahead with unilateral changes to our health insurance as allowed under the law. A further update will be on offer after the meeting. To my understanding the School Committee announced its perception that the current state of the budget will necessitate cutting 14 to 16 full-time equivalent positions in Wareham over the summer. This is an initial prognosis and experience shows that it is far too early to take this as a final number. Finally, please contact the WEA with concerns about evaluations. The Association cannot protect all of us without being told what is occurring in the hallways of the schools; I'm committed to ensuring that the WEA ensures everyone has a fair go, but cannot contest an issue about which I know nothing. As is often said in our buildings in other circumstances, if you have a question or concern, chances are other people have the same.