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Retired city attorney sues to reinstate health insurance

Vincent Taranto was the Glen Cove city attorney

Vincent Taranto was the Glen Cove city attorney from 2007 to 2014. Photo Credit: Patrick McCarthy

A retired Glen Cove city attorney is suing the city to reinstate his health insurance benefits, which were terminated after an audit found he was ineligible for the coverage.

Vincent Taranto, who served as the city attorney from 2007 to 2014, filed an application in Nassau Supreme Court on June 3 to temporarily restrain the city from cutting off his benefits or to have them reinstated.

Judge Julianne T. Capetola ordered the city last Thursday not to terminate the coverage or to reinstate it pending the hearing of a motion.

A spokesman for the city said it does not comment on pending litigation. Taranto declined to comment.  

The Glen Cove City Council voted at its May 28 meeting to stop covering Taranto and five other retired employees June 1, saving the city about $70,000 a year, according to Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke.   

The city has paid $55,471 so far to cover Taranto and a dependent, according to a report by the city controller.   

Taranto, 73, doesn’t qualify for coverage because of a resolution passed on Dec. 13, 2011, that suspended health benefits for city council members, the city attorney and city historian, according to the audit.

In court papers, Taranto said he discussed the resolution before it was passed with the city’s director of personnel and a plan was implemented that would “allow me to continue my insurance as a ‘retiree’ and defer my city ‘retirement’ for pension purposes.” He also applied for and received Medicare and Social Security benefits. 

“I am now being told that the information and advice dispensed to me was incorrect,” Taranto wrote in court papers.

An employee benefits health insurance transaction form, in which Taranto designates himself as a retiree, is dated Dec. 31, 2011, and included in court filings. The audit stated Taranto retired on March 7, 2014.

“The Plan may have been implemented incorrectly, however, the intent was always crystal clear,” Taranto wrote in court papers. “I would retain the Insurance that I was indisputably entitled to, notwithstanding the Resolution.”

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