Incest For Fun and Profit, Part Two of a Series: David A. Vogt
One other point and this is true of ALL the board members. The board is an unpaid position, but somehow, the district has decided to give each and every board member FREE medical/hospitalization/dental insurance. But the Governor has vetoed it and John Pickelman is none too happy about it...
From: Pickelman, John
Sent: Mon 6/18/2007 9:37 AM
To: All Employees
Cc: 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; Campbell, Richard; Daniel, Chris; Holsey, David; Flotte O'Neill, Maria; Fox, John; Kelly, Priscilla; Maria at Work; Marquard, Stephanie; Priscilla Kelly; Bates, Randy; Vogt, David A
Subject: Governor's Veto
Last Friday, the governor vetoed the second year appropriation for community college health insurance premiums. The amount for all community colleges is $154 million dollars. NHMCCD’s portion of that figure is $10 million dollars. The governor’s rationale is that state law does not allow health insurance premiums to be paid for employees whose salaries are not paid by state funds. The intent of this law is to ensure that employees whose salaries are paid by grant funds, auxiliary funds or physical plant accounts do not receive state funds for health insurance premiums. NHMCCD has strictly abided by this provision. However over the years as the level of state funding for community colleges decreased, community colleges have had to raise local taxes and tuition and fees to make up the difference and meet increased demands from enrollment increases. Since 1991 the state’s share of our operating budget has decreased from 65%^ to 28%. During this time period the contributions from the state for health insurance premiums have continued. It is interesting to note, that the governor’s calculations do not include tuition and fees, yet tuition and fees are considered when calculating the health insurance premiums for universities. Why has the governor taken such action? We believe that he has received bad advice. What is most disturbing is that the official statement justifying the veto for health insurance premiums accuses all 50 college districts as “falsifying” their appropriations requests. Of course, this is absurd.
What can be done? The Texas Association of Community Colleges of which I am the Chairman of its Board of Directors believes that the governor has no statutory authority for this line item veto. We are currently consulting with legal experts to determine if our opinion has merit. That opinion will dictate next steps. If that effort fails we will do all in our power to inform legislators, community and business leaders, friends of community colleges to share with the governor their position on this veto. Hopefully, members of the legislature will agree with our position and include community colleges in an emergency appropriation in 2009 to restore the funding if legal action is improbable. I am confident that our Board of Trustees will do all it can to ensure that this veto will not affect the health coverage our employees now have. It is certainly a challenge. We have had them before and we have met them. We’ll do it again.
We will keep you posted.