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Sarasota News Leader October 4, 2013 Page 37 The topic triggered frustration from one board member during the Sept. 25 meeting. Commissioner Christine Robinson said she was upset because the commissioners were not told earlier about the projected premium hike. Robinson was also upset that notice of the increase was posted online before the rate was even finalized and before the County Commission was notified about the situation. That posting was inadvertently uploaded to the web prematurely, county staff responded. It was online for only 24 hours before it was taken down. "I am very troubled," Robinson told County Administrator Randall Reid. "I am concerned about what else we are not seeing." Commissioner Joe Barbetta agreed about the Steve Botelho/File photo early posting: "The train left the station too early." Barbetta asked if county staff had sought quotes from other insurance companies to Robinson added that if she had known about see whether lower rates could be secured. the projected increase, she might have been more inclined to vote for the recent salary Aetna manages the medical coverage, but since the county self-funds its program, the boosts. bulk of the cost comes from claims, which In addition to the merit pay raises for this can vary from year to year, staff replied. fiscal year, the commissioners approved a $1,000 lump-sum payment for each non-union "Insurance is a confusing thing," Barbetta employee during the 2013 fiscal year. Robinson said. "We want our employees to be covered." was the lone commissioner to vote against Commissioner Nora Patterson pointed out both actions, linking her decision to contin- during that Sept. 25 discussion what staff ued use of the county's economic uncertainty told the News Leader this week — that the reserve fund to balance the budget. projected premium increase would hit some "This might have affected my vote on raises if employees hard and that it would negate the recently approved pay increase. I had know employees had to cover some of that [healthcare] cost," Robinson said. "I am "Some of these employees with a spouse and concerned we are not getting information we children — about half of our staff — the raise will be totally eaten up," Patterson said. % need to make decisions."

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