There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Let’s hope the GSCDD staff agrees with that saying.

At the Gateway Services Community Development District meeting of the Board of Supervisors on March 19, 2015, one topic of discussion was a new health insurance plan for the district’s staff.

Under the new plan that the GSCDD staff has recommended for themselves through Vantage Benefit Solutions, the average monthly premium would be $767.96 per employee with a $1,000 deductible.

Fortunately for them, the employees won’t have to pay the entire premium themselves.

Or any of it.

It was revealed in the meeting that the residents of Gateway are paying 100% of all health and dental insurance premiums for GSCDD staff. There are 10 employees who have their health insurance through Gateway’s CDD, putting the exact quote from Vantage at $7,679.55 per month for staff health insurance premiums according to a February 24, 2015 GSCDD document obtained by the Sun.

The Supervisors do not receive these benefits. In fact, one of them seemed pretty uneasy about the whole situation.

After Vice-Chairman Margaret Fineberg made a motion (seconded by Supervisor Rod Senior) to accept the Vantage plan, Chairman William Guy asked if there were any comments.

Supervisor Gary Neubauer had one.

“Last time that we – I mentioned this in an email to Cal [Teague, District Manager] – the last time that we renewed or re-did the staff medical, it was brought up in the meeting that, especially at that time, the Chairman at that time, wasn’t – didn’t believe that it was the norm for [employers] to pay 100% of all of people’s medical insurance, et cetera, across the board. And that we were going to look at that before we got in to this again. Which I realize this is the 28th hour, but I’d at least like to say that before we go through this – and now the next thing is going to be with the staff incomes that this all puts together as the A plus B equals total income, so to speak. We oughta look at that. We can’t do that now, I understand. But when it comes to our discussion to staff incomes and we’re comparing apples to apples with other places, this should definitely be a factor in there,” said Neubauer.

Guy followed up with a question for Operations Manager Scott Connell.

“Scott I have just one question. Gary brought up an excellent point. Can you tell us, quickly, what percentage of these benefits are being paid by the staff and what percentage are being paid by the board?”

Replied Connell, “It is my understanding that the premiums are being paid 100% by the district for the employees.”

I have just one question as well. Is the GSCDD hiring?

The Vantage plan itself is actually a little bit cheaper than what Gateway is paying right now for GSCDD staff insurance. So there’s that, which is nice. But the staff could have at least opted to recommend the slightly less expensive Vantage plan which would have saved the residents of Gateway $711.31 per month (total, not per employee).

Under that plan the deductible would still only be $2,000 per year and only a small increase in co-pays.

The motion to adopt the Vantage plan recommended by the GSCDD staff passed by a 4-0 vote. Supervisor Pam Gill, who spearheaded this effort on behalf of the board, was ironically not present at the meeting for this vote.

The health and dental insurance plan is an outstanding one for the employees. And if they were paying for it themselves this would not be news.

But in this day and age it seems out of place for the residents of Gateway to be footing 100% of the insurance premiums for GSCDD staff, as Neubauer noted.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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