Ald. Bridget Maniaci's plan for the city to provide health care benefits for alders has not been well-received. It was rejected by the Board of Estimates, and Council President Mark Clear has signaled he opposes any plan that will come from taxpayer dollars. Today, Maniaci struck back with an amended proposal (see page 3), which won't cost taxpayers an additional dime.
The solution: Make the mayor's people pay for it.
The Maniaci amendment would cut the salary of five of Mayor Dave's staff by 5.7 percent, freeing up $40,000 to provide alders pensions and health insurance. The targeted staff would be the mayor's political appointees, most of whom have six-figure pay packages.
Maniaci says she does not wish to comment on the proposal any further, but that the amendment is just one of many possible solutions that should be discussed.
Verveer says he appreciates the point Maniaci is making by highlighting the gap between the generous funding for the mayor's office and the low-budget staff available to the Council. Nevertheless, he says he does not expect the amendment to pass.
Clear says he still will not support the amendment. However, both he and others, such as Verveer, expressed interest in finding a way to allow alders to opt into the state health insurance pool, as Dane County Board supervisors do.
Politically, this is an interesting development for the first term alder. A former intern to Cieslewicz, Maniaci benefitted from the active support of the mayor in her successful bid against Ald. Brenda Konkel last year. Her tenure on the Council so far has been largely defined by the proactive role she has taken on behalf of the Edgewater renovation project -- a priority of the mayor's.