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      Albany healthcare vote goes void

      A Tuesday morning vote between City of Albany commissioners over whether or not to adopt option 1A for the employee healthcare plan has been defeated after the vote ended in a tie.Albany commissioners spent more than two hours discussing the employee health care plan for 2014.Option 1A offers the smallest increase to employee contributions and zero increase on all base plan participants.Three commissioners voted for and three voted against while Mayor Dorothy Hubbard says she needs more information.Hubbard says two months after passing the fiscal budget; she's just now getting information about the employee healthcare plan.We might have made some decisions if we had that in the back of our minds but when it was not brought up at all and then we get hit two months in the budget that doesn't seem to be good planning, said Hubbard.The Albany Wellness Committee brought forth four options for employees, all of which would take millions from the general fund.I would think that that puts the five year plan in jeopardy, said Hubbard.Those with Albany TMs human resources department says the four options were designed so that the commissioners could choose between the different options and try to strike a balance between what works for the city and what's going to be best for the employee.Commissioner Ivy Hines made the motion to accept the option 1a because he believes its in the best interest of city employees.Option 1A would have the best impact on the amount of money that would be coming out of their paychecks for medical insurance, said Hines.A vote for option 1A ended in a tie, taking the issue of health care back to the drawing board.Mayor Hubbard says whatever the end decision may be, she wants city employees to get the better deal.Employees have not gotten any raise, not a merit pay, not a cost of living, not anything, so you are substantially decreasing some employees TM ability to care for their families, said Hubbard.Commissioners plan to meet on September 11, 2013 at noon to work out a solution before open enrollment begins in October.