Vote To Increase County Employee
Insurance Share Fails

With standing room only, vote no placards pinned to their chests and a roar of applause from the crowd, the motion by Commissioner Nancy Marcus to increase the employee share of insurance premiums failed to gain a majority vote of commission for passage. Several amendments to the motion were presented in an attempt to make the issue more palatable to commissioners and employees but in the end the motion still failed by a vote of six nays and four yeas.
Loudon County employees won't pay more for insurance

By: Brittany Bailey, Reporter WBIR

Some Loudon County employees narrowly dodged having to pay more money for their health insurance Monday night.

Right now, employees contribute 10 percent, and the county chips in 90 percent.

Dozens of employees crowded into the courthouse annex to show their disapproval for the proposal.

They wore blue signs that read: "Vote No!"

Commissioner Nancy Marcus proposed increasing the employee share for health insurance by 2 percent.

That would mean single employees would pay $6.58 more per paycheck; employees with one other family member would pay $11.66; and employees with families would pay $15.32.

For some comparison, Anderson County pays 80 percent for singles and 75 percent for families.

In Knox County, the county share ranges anywhere from about 73 percent to 96 percent, depending upon if the employee is single or has a family, smokes or is a non-smoker.

Commissioner Wayne Gardin stuck up for Loudon employees and drew a lot of applause from the crowd because of it.

"I've seen companies that took benefits away - insurance and a lot of things was taken away," Gardin said. "It destroyed the morale of the people, their attitude toward work, the employee turnover became much greater, and it ends up costing the company money."

The commission discussed several plans that would have had the insurance rates going up starting January 1, or July 1, or not at all.

In the end, the commission voted down all moves to increase employee contributions.

"I think it's fantastic," said Tim Shilling, a foreman for the county's highway department. "I think we haven't heard the last of it. I believe it'll be continuing more. I think eventually they'll have to do something due to rising cost of insurance. I mean, it's almost inevitable, but I do appreciate the fact that there are people looking out after us."

Employees also complained that they stuffed envelopes with the letter from Nancy Marcus informing them about the proposed move on county time.

The mayor said at the meeting he would cover those costs out of his own pocket.

Marcus declined to comment.