Deal reached to restore life insurance for Allegheny County retirees, officials say
Life insurance policies for Allegheny County retirees, briefly cut by $6,000, will be restored to their full levels.
Treasurer John Weinstein said a deal to restore the policies to $10,000 was finalized on Monday.
Weinstein, president of the county Retirement Board, said he had not notified fellow board members or about 1,000 retirees affected.
News of the deal surfaced once county Controller Chelsa Wagner accused county Executive Rich Fitzgerald of shortchanging the life insurance polices when the county switched providers from Prudential to Lincoln Financial on Jan. 1. Wagner asked every county department to reduce its budget to scrape together $200,000 to save the policies.
“This administration has been aware of this problem for over a year but has failed to work out a resolution in spite of numerous requests to do so,” said Wagner, who has clashed with Fitzgerald repeatedly since both took office in 2012. “I receive calls from angered and confused retirees every week. One call was too many.”
Wagner submitted legislation to Allegheny County Council, which meets on Tuesday, requesting members reduce each department and row office by “its proportionate share” to fund the life insurance polices.
“The Retirement Board, and the administration, is sensitive to this issue and has been working diligently to resolve it. It has been resolved, contrary to the Controller's statement, and we will communicate that resolution directly to the affected retirees first,” Weinstein and Jennifer Liptak, chief of staff to Fitzgerald and a member of the Retirement Board, said in a joint statement.
Both Weinstein and Liptak said there is no need for county council to act.
Ted Puzak, a retired Allegheny County probation officer and a member of the Retirement Board, was glad Weinstein and the administration found a solution. Puzak, who retired in 2001, received a letter from the Department of Human Resources notifying him his life insurance policy had been cut. He urged the board to fix it.
Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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