Fort Wayne City Council fails to override Mayor’s veto on insurance benefits

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): The first face-off of 2017 between the Fort Wayne City Council and Mayor Tom Henry happened Tuesday as the Council tried to override the Mayor’s veto of a plan that would fix a “loophole” in the city’s firefighter’s health insurance.

Mayor Henry won that battle.

While the motion to override his veto did get a majority, with five “yes” votes, it needed six to pass. Councilman Glynn Hines explains why he voted “no” on the override effort.

“We generally try not to get involved in the negotiations of contracts… because therefore the unions can just supersede and go straight to the Council when they find out something they don’t agree with,” Hines said.

Supporters say there was a problem with the original policy that doubled deductibles for retirees on the plan and removed the $600 deductible option entirely without including the union in that discussion. Mayor Henry asserted that the change would’ve “undermined the very nature of the bargaining process,” something that Councilman Michael Barranda, who supported overriding the veto, accused Mayor Henry’s administration itself of doing.

“When Mayor Henry vetoed this, he said it would undermine the bargaining process, but he also indicated that this would cause his budget to go over by about $50,000,” Barranda said. “The only way that could happen would be that if a budget was provided to this council with the knowledge that this benefit was going to be eliminated beforehand.”

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