Franklin Co. Commission Tables Commissioners’ Health Insurance Question

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Franklin County is tabling for now the issue of whether Franklin County Commissioners should receive county-paid health insurance while the county attorney researches the matter.

At a recent meeting, Franklin County Commisioner Robert Franklin motioned to approve the plan, which was seconded by commissioner David Strickland.

However, before the vote, Franklin County Commissioners Jeff Jacques and Clint Harper said the plan is illegal and unethical.

Providing county health insurance to commissioners, who are considered part-time salaried employees, came up at a recent Franklin County Commission work session and was recommended by commissioner David Strickland.

Strickland said the new health care law will require employers to provide health coverage to part-time employees.

However, Commissioner Clint Harper called the coverage nothing more than a perk for commissioners.

Commissioner Jeff Jacques did not attend the work session, but at the Franklin County Commission’s regular meeting, opposed the idea.

Jacques said it was a violation of local legislation passed by voters, which only requires health insurance for full-time county employees.

Jacques also called it an ethical violation and says it would add $250,000 in additional costs to FranklinCounty taxpayers over a ten-year period.

Meanwhile, Strickland said the insurance could be paid for from the savings FranklinCounty realized in finding a lower-cost health insurance provider this past year.

He also said not all of the board would take advantage of the health insurance.

However, Harper called providing county paid health insurance to the board unethical and asked Franklin County Attorney Bubba Samuels to confirm that.

Samuels said he would have to research the matter.

At that point, Franklin County Commission Chair Thomas Bridges asked Franklin to rescind his motion and the matter was tabled.