An Amityville Village settlement offer for five former municipal officials whose village-funded health insurance was terminated earlier this year has expired with no takers, trustee Nick LaLota said.
The settlement would have paid the former officials $2,500 per year to supplement Medicare coverage. It would also have included a no-lawsuit clause and a requirement that the former officials certify time records submitted to the New York State retirement system during their tenure with the village.
Officials under Mayor James Wandell examined those records during a review of the insurance benefits, and have questioned their accuracy. For example, records obtained from the village under a public records request show that three of the former officials claimed five or more hours of meetings and phone calls on Labor Day in 2003.
“We don’t work normal hours,” said former Mayor Peter Imbert, who is one of the five, in an interview last week. “There are phone calls over the weekend, at home, at work, meetings besides the regular meetings. Believe me, it’s no part-time job.”
Former trustee Ed Johnson, another one of the five, speaking at a January village board meeting, described a similarly grueling schedule: “There were meetings at night. I was the school board liaison, the court liaison. Every time there was an inspection, I was going to all the automotive places.”
The Wandell administration ended health coverage for the five — who also include former trustee Joe Slack, former Mayor Emil Pavlik and former village attorney Stephen Kretz — earlier this year, saying it would save an estimated $100,000 annually.
That money is needed, administration officials say, to repair shaky municipal finances and pay off an anticipated $1.3 million bond funding separation payments for the police chief, lieutenant and two officers who retired last year.
But some of the former officials, now retired and living on fixed incomes, said the benefits had been promised and they depended on them.
Imbert called the Wandell administration’s efforts a “witch hunt” and said the former officials had decided collectively not to respond to the settlement offer.
“As a group, we decided the offer was so minimal, it wasn’t worth playing games with them,” he said.