Fringe benefit details requested for county budgeting purposes

NORWICH – Before Chenango County Treasurer William Evans retires, as was announced earlier in June, the county supervisors who sit on the Public Works Committee have a job left for him to do: Budget employee benefits per government department, not in one lump sum.

That lump sum amounts to about $8 million for this year, the majority of which goes for employee hospitalizations and pensions. Some departments, such as social services and mental hygiene services, already report contractual expenses related to fringe benefits, but not all.

“Why don’t we have them (listed) in every department?” asked Chenango County Supervisor Peter C. Flanagan, D-Preston, during the committee’s June meeting. “It’s hard to tell all of the costs associated with these departments when making budgeting decisions.”

For 15 years, the supervisor from Preston said he has requested benefit details outlined per department. He came close to getting some answers in late 2008 when Evans said he would convene a work session the following year to inform committees of the amounts per department. Even though Flanagan has said supervisors don’t need to see individual prescription costs, Evans insisted that providing the information in open session would be prohibited by federal privacy laws.

Whether or not county supervisors learned the benefit tallies per department within executive sessions held last year is unknown.

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