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Posted on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 11:24 a.m.

County administrator apologizes to unions for incorrectly stating they pay nothing for health care

By Ryan J. Stanton

Washtenaw County Administrator Verna McDaniel misspoke recently when she stated certain county bargaining units that haven't settled new contracts pay nothing for health care.

"I would like to retract that as some of those units do, in fact, pay a health-care premium of $40 per month," McDaniel told via e-mail today.

McDaniel said the 24 employees represented by the Assistant Prosecutors Association each pay $40 per month for health care premium sharing, or $480 per year. She said the 13 employees represented by the Public Defenders Association also pay the same.


Verna McDaniel

McDaniel said she has apologized to union leaders for her error.

But she said she was correct in stating that the 60 employees represented the AFSCME Local 3052 general supervisors bargaining unit pay nothing toward their health care.

Bargaining units that failed to settle new contracts before Sept. 15 are expected to start paying more for their health care benefits soon. The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners is opting to go along with the state's new 80/20 rule for public employee health insurance.

That caps the county's contributions toward health care benefits at 80 percent of costs, while the nearly 100 employees affected will pick up 20 percent starting Jan. 1.

County officials didn't have an exact savings estimate from the 80/20 change when the board gave initial approval last month, but rough calculations showed it's in the six-figure range.

"A lot of our employees are under the family plan," McDaniel said at the time, explaining what affected employees would pay. "For 2012, we know the costs are going to go up. And let's just say if family coverage is $19,000, it'd be 20 percent of that — so roughly a little under $4,000."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 2:23 a.m.

Federal retirees pay $4500 per year or so for their Federal BC/BS plus hefty co-pays. Whatever the county employees will have to pay cannot surpass that.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

$40.00 is NOTHING and I suppose it is top of the line insurance too...I could only dream of having such insurance.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 2:05 p.m.

Apply for those jobs. Evidently lots of people here can do the job for less, now is your chance to make that offer.

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

McDaniel must be taking union bashing classes from Conan Smith. BYW, has he paid back what he owes the County yet? Why is Ms. McDaniel silent on that debt owed to taxpayers?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 7:13 p.m.

So are you telling me that family coverage is $19,000? I know some clerks make $25,000. They keep these low wage jobs for the benefits. Let me think...administrator makes $60,000 and family coverage is $19,000, 20% would be $3800 or roughly 6% of salary ...Clerk earns $25,000 and family coverage cost $19, 000, 205 would be $3800 would be roughly 15% of salary. Why not have each employee pay 6% of their salary for health benefits. This to me seems far more fair and equitable. Of course if we had universal healthcare....


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

She probably meant to say they used to pay nothing. Now they contribute about 10% for an individual or 3% for a family at the most, plus dental, eye, retirement and so on. Why doesnt the union add "kissing their butt" to the list of perks. If its an 80/20 split please let me know where you get quality insurance for $2400.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 5:36 p.m.

OOOPS! The cats out of the bag.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

I don't understand what the County Administrator is apologizing for other than to maintain good will.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

Agree that $40 is relatively next to nothing, but shouldn't a county admin - of all people - know better? If you don't know the basic lay of the land then something is lacking.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

I would say $40 per month for health care is close to nothing so her original statement was correct!