But Alan Potasnik, a former city councilman and current chairman of the local Republican Party, thinks this is a mistake and said there is a bigger issue at hand.
"My wife and I both (she has also served on the council) feel that if you sign up for one of these positions, for public service, then that is the name of the game," said Potasnik, who has rallied local taxpayers to speak out against the proposal.
"We believe you do not do this expecting to be paid big salaries and benefits. Spending thousands of extra dollars is not what conservative taxpayers would expect."The council president uses the excuse of other council members in other cities receiving health insurance benefits as an excuse for Carmel's councilors receiving the same benefit:
Council President Eric Seidensticker sees both sides of the issue.
"If the people have permitted the (Hamilton) County Council and County Commissioners to have this benefit, and since they are elected to a similar position as the City Council (most still have full-time jobs as well), the benefits extended to each should be the same," he said. "I also understand that public service was not intended to provide the same luxuries as full-time employment."
The Indiana Association of Cities and Towns said its survey this year of 227 cities and towns showed that only 26 offered health benefits. Among those 26 are major cities such as Indianapolis, Anderson, Bloomington, Fort Wayne and South Bend. In Central Indiana, smaller locales such as Mooresville and Whitestown provide benefits, while the rest do not.
Plainfield council members can opt in to that city's plan but only if they pay the premiums themselves.This is what disgusts me so much about the Republican Party. It constantly preaches fiscal conservatism and smaller government, but the only people getting ahead in the party these days are self-dealing pigs who want to squeeze as much out of their public service as possible. True fiscal conservatives are driven out of the party because they are principled people.
UPDATE: The proposal passed by a vote of 5-2. Only the two retiring council members voted against the proposal.