East Providence’s state-appointed budget commission voted this week to stop offering health insurance to members of its City Council as of Nov. 1, which is expected to save nearly $50,000 a year. Do most Rhode Island communities give their elected officials health benefits?
The answer is no – or at least it was as of July 2006, the last time the state published a survey of salary and fringe benefits offered to municipal elected officials. East Providence was one of nine cities and towns that offered health insurance to their local councilors at the time, the results showed.
Another of the nine was Central Falls, where receiver Robert Flanders ended health benefits for the City Council last June, shortly before the city filed for bankruptcy. The other seven that offered councilors health insurance in 2006 were Burrillville, East Greenwich, Johnston, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence and Warwick.
The generosity of the plans ranged from a “fully paid” family health insurance plan for Burrillville councilors to an annual cap on coverage of $2,700 a year in East Greenwich. All nine cities offered councilors dental coverage, too, and some of them also offered vision coverage, life insurance and retirement benefits.