Constituent opposes health insurance for School Board retirees

DEIDRE CRUSE, Governmental Reporter

A Plaquemine man told Iberville Parish School Board members Monday night they should talk to their constituents before going ahead with a policy to provide themselves with health insurance benefits after they retire.

“I worked 33 years [full-time] to get just part of the benefits that y'all are getting after 12 years of part-time work,” Billy Dunn told the board.

The School Board 8-7 last month to allow current board members to continue to receive taxpayer-supported health insurance benefits if they retire after 12 years of service. Board Member Dorothy R. Sansoni of Plaquemine proposed the policy.

Dunn cited a POST/SOUTH poll showing 89 percent of those answering an on—line survey opposed the policy. He also said the board needed to know what the benefit would cost taxpayers in the future.

He asked the board not to approve the minutes of the February meeting that included the benefits.

Board Member Paul B. Distefano of Plaquemine said the issue would have to be brought back up for a new vote.

“They can bring it up at any time,” Board President Melvin Lodge of St. Gabriel said.

Board Member Tom Delahaye of Plaquemine, who asked that Dunn be allowed to speak, moved to first to strike the health benefits policy from the February minutes and later to reject the minutes entirely.

“I'm not going to allow it,” Lodge said.

Delahaye said later he is continuing to look at filing a lawsuit to stop the policy from going into effect.