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Councilman: Eliminate Pay, Benefits for Fountain Valley Officials

"You shouldn't come into the position looking for extra benefits," says Steve Nagel. Mayor Pro Tem Mark McCurdy says such benefits allow him to serve the city independently.

Fountain Valley City Council member Steve Nagel confirmed last week he favors eliminating the monthly stipend and optional health, life and retirement benefits provided to the members of the council.

"We're in a time now where we need to look at all of our costs," Nagel said. "We don't pay our part-time people medical benefits, and we're part-time council people. I feel you shouldn't come into the position looking for extra benefits. To be responsible, and to be true to cutting our costs where we can, it's a wise move, and I'm just trying to bring some points forward so we can see if we're spending our money wisely."

Nagel first brought the issue up during the council's March 20 meeting. Each council member receives a monthly stipend of $475, and can also choose to accept health insurance, life insurance and a small pension from the city.

Every member of the council except for Michael Vo receives life insurance from the city, which provides $15,000 in benefits and costs $2.63 a month for each policy. The retirement plan offered to the council provides a monthly 26 percent pension based on the monthly stipend. Mayor John Collins and council member Larry Crandall are enrolled in the pension program.

The most costly optional benefit provided to council members is health insurance. Crandall and Mark McCurdy accept the city-provided insurance, the cost of which varies depending on the plan. Crandall's plan costs the city $575 a month, while McCurdy's costs $946 a month. McCurdy defended his decision to accept health insurance from the city, saying that it allows him to be more objective when making the sorts of important decisions that affect the city.

"It's not a huge amount, and it enables somebody who isn't rich to work this way without being dependent upon special interests," he said. "It gives them a sense of independence and freedom to make the right decisions. The popular trend is for everybody to give up their stipends, but I planned and I budgeted to get where I'm at, and I'll have to plan and budget to change it. In concept, [eliminating pay and benefits is] good, but the little but we get helps us to be more independent."

Crandall said he supported doing away with the council's health insurance benefits four years ago when it was last brought up, but that it never got done. He said he'd support a similar proposal now for newly elected council members, but would allow existing council members to be grandfathered into their benefits. As for the stipend, Crandall said he'd be in favor of keeping it because, he said, Fountain Valley's stipend is considerably lower then that of other cities.

fleur_amour_ca@yahoo.com April 05, 2012 at 05:00 AM
They need to put someone else to replace these corruption and racist Goverment . Children education is the key foundation of a strong City and Country. These folks sitting in FV too old too tire to able get a job so this is their way of getting benefit from tax payers.
Jim Pull April 05, 2012 at 04:45 PM
McCurdy is a Insurance agent himself. Are we to believe he never had insurance before? As far as him not being rich - well then he sure spent a crap load of other peoples money to get elected. I spent less then $1000.00 and got about 1000 votes. He spent well over $50,000 in both of his campaigns. And don't even get me started on Vo - Has he ever actually done anything yet other then vote exactly like Crandall and pose for every Vietnamese function?
kiieelze April 05, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I don't mean to sound like a socialist, but everyone deserve some basic preservation in order to sustain oneself in this world. We really need to find solutions to these problems by offering services that is in an efficient, less costly ways possible. When I am speaking of services, I mean any kind of services that a citizen or an agent of the government may needs. If there some middle men involve, let cut them out completely. Someone should bid out service contracts to the lowest bidders so that there is no monopoly in play. Let be competitive with these stuff. Seriously, if my budget is said $1,000, do I contract with service providers at Bel Air Estate at $3,000 or with Santa Ana at $300, hypothetically speaking. The ran away budget deficit is due to hemorrhage that can't be patched with increase taxes. In desperation, if the government can do it then they'll even tax the air we breath.
Joker Joe April 05, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Might mention that to Obama also but it will not take. Hard to give common sense out for nothing!
Jeanne Galindo April 06, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Mr. Pull, Perhaps you should check your facts before you state that Mark McCurdy spent over 50K on his campaigns. Just call the city clerk and ask for the 460's. Those tell you what each candidate spent on their campaigns. McCurdy spent no where near 50K. As far as compensation, the council members deserve a small stipend for the many hours they spend on city business. Fountain Valley pays less than half of other cities in Orange County. If one council person wants to give up their stipend, let them do it. That is their choice and should not be a mandate for other council members.

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