Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town


Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.



How many of Red Bank’s 3,326 homeowners does it take to cover the cost of healthcare insurance for the 23 elected and appointed officials who use it?

+ Thirteen, in the riverside enclave of Hubbard Park, where the average property assessment is $1.19 million. Collectively, the municipal tax receipts (excluding school and county levies) from every house on Hubbard match the $59,400 cost of insuring elected and appointed officials almost exactly.

+ Thirty-eight, going by the proposed townwide average local property tax bill of $1,556, which is based on an average assessment of $404,981 struck earlier this year.

+ Sixty-nine, on Bank Street, where properties are assessed at an average $224,350, according to Monmouth County records. Except that there are only 55 properties on that three-block street. So even after using every penny of local tax paid by Bank Street property owners to cover this cost, the borough still would need to come up with another $12,000.

That’s the math. Whether or not the spending is appropriate is a political matter — and a hot one, it would appear, judging by a flurry of recent comments posted on redbankgreen. (See the comment trails beneath our stories on the budget, the appointment of Grace Cangemi to the council and elsewhere.)

As Mayor-elect late last year, Pasquale Menna appeared to agree that the issue of healthcare benefits for elected officials was worthy of serious reconsideration. But with a new budget moving forward and no changes to the coverage in evidence, the topic has yet to get a full public airing at the council. Where does Menna stand on it today, and what do each of the sitting council members have to say about it?

redbankgreen invites the mayor and council members to post their opinions on this site, just as all readers are encouraged to do the same.

Meantime, what follows is a Q&A with Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels conducted by email late last week in an effort to establish a basic framework of facts. It’s not an exhaustive review of the topic, but rather a starting point.


Which elected and appointed positions in the borough government are entitled to coverage, and under what ordinance(s)?
All seven elected officials are eligible. All full-time appointed officials and appointed employees are eligible under borough policy section 4, pages 31 and 32, which is adopted by ordinance.

No appointed “professionals,” such as Borough Attorney, Borough Engineer, Planning Board or Zoning Board Attorneys, etc., receive health insurance. They are not eligible.

It should be noted that the policy of provided health insurance coverage for elected officials started under the previous administration (under Mayor Arnone) and has been continued. I do not know exactly what year it was started.

Under the current budget, how many individuals in each of these categories are covered: borough employees, elected officials and appointees?
There are 100 full-time employees covered, 16 appointed full-time employees/officials, and 5 elected officials. There are also 2 appointed employees with coverage as retirees that our policy also carries as eligible retirees.

How much will the borough spend on healthcare insurance under the 2006-2007 budget? How much of that is attributable to coverage of elected and appointed officials?
2007 budget $2,400,000; elected officials $59,400.

Are the terms of coverage for elected and appointed officials in any way different from the coverage available to borough employees? If so, please say how.
Coverage availability is the same for all.

Are the families of elected officials and appointees eligible for coverage?
Yes, they are eligible.

Are dental care and vision care included in the package?
Dental, but not vision.

What is the formal procedure for declining the coverage?
Employee must show proof of existing coverage and sign a waiver to decline coverage. That’s the procedure outlined in our collective bargaining agreements. We follow the same procedure for all who are eligible.

Among those eligible, which individuals declined the coverage in 2006?
Presently, the following elected officials receive coverage: Pasquale Menna, Arthur V. Murphy, R.J. Bifani, Sharon Lee, and Michael Dupont.

Does the borough participate in any group purchasing efforts, i.e. through an association such as the League of Municipalities, to obtain the best rates for this coverage?
Current provider Central Jersey Health Insurance Fund includes 22 municipalities.

Which insurer is the current coverage provider? Which other companies bid for the contract in the upcoming budget, and what were the prices they quoted?
Central Jersey Health Insurance Fund is the current provider. Requests for proposals were solicited by [Borough CFO] Frank Mason soon after his appointment. Bids were received from BGIA of Woodbridge for Blue Cross ($2,761,824) and Walsh Benefits of Fair Haven ($2,438,964) for Blue Cross. Both were more expensive than our current participation with the Central Jersey Joint Health Insurance Fund.

Red Bank was one of the organizers of the CJHIF (I believe, 16 years ago). Additionally, it should be noted that the borough received a $79,000 refund from the CJHIF for 2006 based on claims experience for the entire fund. Such refunds have been past practice for a few years.

Cigna, Aetna and IDA declined to provide a quote based on competitiveness.

In the past ten years, has the council asked for or received any reports specifically on the topic of insurance for elected and appointed officials?
An informal request of surrounding towns’ benefits was done by Frank Mason toward the end of 2006. [Download benefits_survey_2006.xls To view, you must have Excel software.]

Finally, how much are council members and the mayor paid for their service?
Council members receive $3,527 per year; Mayor receives $7,054 per year.

Email this story

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
      Snapping Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs this time of year and are a common site along the Swimming River waterfr ...
RED BANK: A sparrow waits for the next available dirt tub while two others take their Sunday baths. (Click for video.)
A bench outside the Red Bank Public Library provided a serene view of our beautiful Navesink River Monday evening.
Anybody lose a Slim Jim? A “Sweet Mild O’ Mine” flavor Slim Jim was seen left unattended on this mailbox on Mechanic Stree ...
RED BANK: Look for this cutie pie, named Sacramento, at Yappy Hour on Broadwalk Saturday. He's looking for a new home.
On a rainy May morning, the only golden sight on Broad Street this morning were the matching raincoats of Eileen and her dog Benny.
RED BANK: For those who don't get the meaning of a stop sign, crossing guard Diane Johnson amplifies the message with some colorful outfits. ...
RED BANK: Devotees of vinyl records expected to drop needle at Broad and Mechanic Saturday. Here's why.
Feline fortunes on Monmouth Street
Christopher Russell and feline pal Princess take in some fresh air on a warm May night Thursday in the doorway of Gina’s Psychic Bouti ...
RED BANK: Public Library will be closed Friday for the start of elevator construction. (Click for more.)
RED BANK: Replacement of nine trees gets underway on South Street, where a wholesale removal angered residents last September. (Click for mo ...
New Jersey Flow Arts brings together jugglers, poi spinners, hoopers and more weekly in Riverside Gardens Park.
Honeybee swarm carted away
Beekeeper Tanya Ptak of Ptak’s Apiary inspects a swarm of honeybees that chose a flower pot in the courtyard of Red Bank Primary Schoo ...
RED BANK: Three borough sites will participate in a weekend of self-guided tours of 52 historic locations in Monmouth County May 4 & 5.
Toting plastic trash bags, 51 volunteers conducted a walking litter cleanup on Red Bank's West Side Saturday.
You wish you could vibe like Brian, who lives on the other side of Hubbard’s Bridge. He caught redbankgreen’s attention in Red B ...
RED BANK: St. Anthony of Padua obtains papal approval to establish Oratory of St. Philip Neri, a community of priests and brothers devoted t ...
RED BANK: Lunch Break founder Norma Todd is depicted in a mural painted this week on the front of the newly renovated social service agency.
Spring tulips taking in the sunset outside the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank Monday evening.