Policemen and Firemen Came Out To Peacefully Object Against Mayor Winnecke’s 2017 Budget Proposal

first_imgThe Traveling City Hall meeting on Wednesday at Washington Square Mall appeared to be quite a flop for the powers that be. As approximately 30-40 Department Heads sat around at tables configured in a large rectangle to answer questions from the citizens of Evansville, on average at any given point in time there were only about 4 people asking the Department Heads anything regarding the operations of the city.On the other hand, there were several news crews, cameramen, and reporters there to document the event. But it was not the Traveling City Hall and its Department Heads about which the news crews were interested. Instead, the news crews were all over the three or four dozen policemen and firemen who came out in peaceful protest against Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s 2017 Budget Proposal and Executive Director of H.R. Administrative Services’ George Fithian’s newly proposed insurance plans for city employees.At Monday night’s City Council Meeting, a packed house revealed that there were a great number of city employees who were not happy with the changes to their insurance plans, which increased their premiums and increased their monthly payments.  Meanwhile, the Winnecke Administration intends to fund Mesker Zoo with a new penguin exhibit using millions of taxpayer dollars as the previous healthcare bills of city employees remains unpaid. The new insurance plans proposed by  the City Personnel Director George Within and Mayor Winnecke have increased city employee family insurance payments drastically. Some officers and firemen even stated that their payments have quadrupled.One fireman said that this protest is nothing personal against the Mayor but we just don’t believe that the city has done its due diligence in finding a better option. We think the city has better options, and we are the people who risk our lives, have multiple exposures to carcinogens and getting shot at. We think we deserve a plan that’s not going to bankrupt our families and cause us to lose our homes.A police officer stated that the penguin exhibit is pointless, especially for us because if they raise our insurance costs this much, we won’t even be able to take our children to the zoo the see the penguin display. He went on to say that it amazes him that if the city has a pet project they find a way to fund it, but when it comes to public safety the funds are just not there.George Fithian, who proposed this new Health Care plan, first to the city employees and then publicly at the city council meeting Monday night, said Monday that he has been in his position with the city for 16 years. When questioned about the city’s Health Care fund being self-insured he stated it was self insured.   When asked what he knew if Old National Bank’s is involved with the City Employee Health insurance Program he said, “I don’t know nothin’.”  He also said that he doesn’t know anything about a Health Care Insurance Consultant hired by the city except that he pays the  premium when he gets a bill.   He went on to say that he just receives a paper on his desk fresh off the printer and signs the one that is best for the city employees. When asked a third time, “So you have no idea who the City’s Health Insurance Consultant is?   ” His answer was a simple, “No”.When he realized that the interview was being recorded, Fithian quickly became angry and almost threatening, as if he was about to punch the cameraman for filming. Apparently, he didn’t want the people to know that he has no clue about the details regarding the City’s Health Care program.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more