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Entry for July 16, 2008

In a brazen act of self-interest, Loveland’s City Manager Don Williams is pushing the City Council to approve a plan where the City of Loveland provides health insurance to he and some 20 other employees this year if they retire early. He wants the plan to run for the next 5 years.

The only two qualifications are twenty years of service at the city and having reached the age of sixty. Don Williams, born on December 20, 1947, appears to be qualified. Some on the council found it strange they were being asked to create a new benefit that would fall to mostly the city’s highest paid employees after they leave the city but doesn’t consider need, job type or the fact it rewards people for retiring early. The 4 to 4 vote caused the proposal to fail and was a bipartisan vote by both Republicans and Democrats on the council. We like to call it the “integrity” wing of the council. It was a demonstration that both Republicans and Democrats can agree that the city’s interests can be protected from proprietary acts of self-interest by management.

Despite Williams's angry comments that indicated a "my way or the highway" approach, councilors from both sides are working to bring back a similar proposal with more informatation and a slightly different plan.

2008-07-16 22:23:41 GMT
Comments (27 total)
Whoooo...let's get this right. Would the proposed plan allow the city manager, if he retires, to participate in the city's health plan until age 65? Yes, as it would be of benefit for any employee that would be eligible to retire during the next 5 years.

Is the city manager pushing or did he bring this plan to the council? No.

I brought forward this proposal to the council for discussion over 4 years ago because I believed it was simply the right thing to do...I still feel it's the right thing to do.

In my previous job with the fire service, we pushed for years to allow retirees from the fire department the opportunity to remain with the city's health plan...while paying the full cost (same as proposed last night) was finally adopted and afforded anyone who had a pre-existing condition to obtain (keep) health insurance after retirement. Prior to adoption, we had several retirees who could not afford health insurance because of costs associated with obtaining new insurance which would cover pre-existing conditions.

Would it be more correct to keep the current policy and say to those who have worked for the city for 20 years or more:

"Good bye and good luck in finding insurance"?....especially for those who may find it difficult to fine coverage based on current medical problems.

The only thing I did not agree with is that the proposed plan only had a 5-year window. This was done to decrease liability...I would rather support a health plan that would continue for an indefinite's called a benefit for city employees...for those currently employeed and those who would be hired in the future. Many other front range citites allow their employees to continue to participate in their respective health plans upon retirement.

Please remember that a retirees ability to participate would expire upon reaching age 65 and he/she could only belong to the health plan after age 60...anyone who retires prior to age 60 would not be allowed to participate. They would also be required to have worked for the city for 20 years or more.

I can live with this blog...although I believe the items posted for discussion are slanted to the extreme...but to put a negative spin on the proposed health benefits for retirees goes over the line. To say that long term employees who retire after age 60 should not be allowed to keep their health insurance until age 65 is unforgiving.

I will continue to fight to obtain these benefits for as long as I serve on the coucil.
2008-07-16 23:03:59 GMT
The city manager makes over $170,000 per year and will likely retire with an income in excess of $10,000 per month not including social security. He has more money in his pocket and more ability to pay for insurance than 99.9% of every Loveland taxpayer you are asking to pay for his early retirement costs.

This makes you a reverse Robin Hood of sorts – pillage the poor with taxes and reward the rich. Do you have any idea what the average Loveland resident earns a year?

His COBRA coverage (automatic extension of benefits upon departure) extends for another 18 months so he could easily retire at 63 and still be covered until 65. For those who don't know, the city is self-insured so Loveland is really being asked to pay for whatever health problems he encounters after resigning his position.

The next time I am awakened by a train whistle I will remember you told me the city didn’t have money to make the crossing safe so federal rules require constant whistles but you do have money to provide one of the city’s highest income earners health insurance after he abandons his job.

I find your blind loyalty to Williams and disregard for my quality of life unforgivable.

2008-07-16 23:52:05 GMT
The only priority is Don preparing to retire after the next city election. He knows the next up for election on council cannot continue voting for his land speculation schemes and McWhinney subsidies and still be re-elected. People are hurting and don't want to see CEO's or City Manager's writing themselves fat retirement checks.

Thank you for getting the truth out about this - it makes me sick to my stomach.
--Glenda Stevens
2008-07-16 23:56:59 GMT
Did I see a different meeting than Councilman Rousey? I went back to check the online agenda and found the following in the record;

“RECOMMENDED CITY COUNCIL ACTION: Move to approve the Retiree Medical Plan as described in the packet.”

Plus – it was initialed by Don Williams.

The City Manager recommended it, argued for it at the meeting and became angry when it didn’t pass. So the following statement posted above by Rousey seems intentionally misleading;

“Is the city manager pushing or did he bring this plan to the council? No”

Please don’t attack the credibility of this website as some kind of defense. Your name was no where on the proposal presented by the Director of Human Resources who works for Williams. The City Manager is clearly the one who authorized it for the agenda and directed his subordinate to present it.

Walt Skowron, like you, is an elected official. Don Williams exceeded the purview of his position by interrupting Skowron and insulting him for taking a position on the proposed ordinance. Williams is an unelected partisan who has no business arguing political or policy positions with an elected member of the council.

Shame on you for putting your partisan views ahead of the constitutional obligation to uphold the city’s charter by allowing Williams to grossly exceed the boundries of his office.

Walt Skowron has more courage, integrity and personality in his smallest finger than you and Williams combined.
2008-07-17 01:12:16 GMT
Walter - my favorite line from Gladiator is when the Roman commander says - "a people should know when they are conquered."

The Loveland line for the Williams' stooges should be "Politicians should know when they are being used."

Rousey had good points but they didn't really explain why people making over six figures need more city benefits after they leave the city. He is clearly an ex-employee talking as a government employee who doesn't care to represent taxpayers.

It is a shame when the Democrats on Council have to join the only two real Republicans to stop this garbage. The rest are like the rats folowing their pide piper into the water.

Get the hint guys - Williams is out for Williams and doesn't give a damn about your reputation. He was caught creating a benefit for himself - now get over it and just keep your eyes open next time.

Kudos to Misters Skowron, Klassen, Solt and Gutierrez for standing-up and doing the right thing.
2008-07-17 01:23:31 GMT
Please re-read my response on this issue....I brought up this issue over 4 years ago...without input or conversation with any city staff member....including Williams. Why? Because I belived and still believe that all employees who retire should be allowed to participate/continue in the city's health plan until age 65.

Carol: Williams did not create a benefit for himself...I started this many times do I need to say it? Although it makes no difference, I have always been a Republican and my party choice has nothing to do with this issue.

Walter: You are fully aware that the city manager, along with other staff members and the Mayor places items of the agenda for every meeting. This item was placed on the agenda at the direction of the city council from a prior study session.

Glenda and Carl: You based your decision that this issue should not be allowed because of salary about those who would retire at a much less annual wage and take advantage of the insurance? What do you suggest...that the ability to continue with the insurance be based on a certain salary range?

Those who would take advantage of this proposal are already in the plan and are already getting the benefit of being insured. Without the proposed changes, they stay until age 65 because they may not be able to obtain insurance due to pre-existing medical conditions.

What I'm reading in your responses is that any issue which may benefit Williams (along with many others) must be bad...any issue dealing with the McWhinneys must be bad....any issue you disagree with must be bad....sorry, I just don't get it.
2008-07-17 12:52:08 GMT
Sorry for the back-to-back posts, but I need to ask this question.

Let's say you worked for the city...and don't say you would not be working for the city. Sometimes you need to take whatever job is available to pay housing costs and put food on the table.

So, you work for the city and after working for 30 years you find yourself at age 60 with a fight with cancer or maybe some heart related problems or whatever, you decide you wish to retire to spend more time with family and friends.

But then you ask yourself if you can find insurance and at what costs to cover your pre-existing conditions because you are not allowed to stay with the city's plan.

You now have only two choices; don't retire until age 65 or retire and pay the extreme high cost for coverage of your exisiting medical problems.

That's what happened in the city and fire department where I worked...thank God we were able to change it.

And you are all saying that this is bad? You are all looking at one individual instead of the bigger picture.

Sorry, but shame on you.
2008-07-17 13:56:37 GMT
Wow!! Where to start?

On the con side, this is a subsidy for gov't employees that is rarely extended to private sector employees. To retire early, those not in gov't usually have to make the decision to either shoulder personal responsibility for their own health, pay the higher cost of private insurance, or wait until they turn 65. In other words, there's a fairness issue here, since many of those who can't afford to retire early themselves may have to shoulder the burden of higher paid city employees' early retirement.

Yet on the pro side, the costs do seem reasonable. Anything that can coaxe Williams out of his position & loosen the grip of the good 'ole boys on the levers of power in city gov't must be a good thing. On that basis alone, it's probably worth it. If a few others join him, what a bonus! Any replacement(s) would almost certainly be cheaper, more open minded, and bring new energy to the position(s). Savings on salary & benefits of the new hire(s) could even pay for any incremental costs for early retirees' healthcare. Whether there are any self-serving manuevers or not, this is probably a net positive for the city.
2008-07-18 01:54:46 GMT
OK, I did re-read your response Mr. Rousey and to the other gentleman, well put but I take your positive comments as mostly cynical. Rewarding bad behavior at any age is wrong.

Please consider these three points.

1. Mr. Rousey, you keep using examples to support your argument that apply to unrelated matters. Sworn officers and emergency personnel have demanding jobs and can retire early already. The proposal you support DOES mostly benefit a few highly paid employees who work at desks. Of course, I wish everyone in Loveland could retire early with full benefits but why should all of us in the private sector support it only for highly paid senior Loveland staff? Yes, if you want to exclude everyone making over $100,000 see how quickly Mr. Williams shuts you down which is a great intro to my second point.
2. It is highly irregular, improper and possibly illegal that the City Manager interrupts elected officials and advocates political and legislative policy issues on the council. I don’t remember seeing his name on the ballot but you keep telling me I should be ashamed. I am expressing my 1st Amendment right while he is telling our elected representatives what issues they can discuss and when. You should be ashamed.
3. Lastly, the secret meetings to kill any option to buy Staples Farm were improper. Any controversy gets buried as a “negotiation” in closed session whether it was the McWhinney Trolley, your current plan to abdicate your elected authority to the McWhinneys and secret meetings when Jan Brown shouted you decided in private to “go get it” in regards to the property on the 402.

People who stretch the law and truth to meet their own personal agenda (whether for early retirement or to make their job easier) are the ones who should be ashamed. Only cowards tell hundreds of residents asking to make Staples Farm open space they will “do everything we can” during the public meeting while directing staff in private to kill it.

2008-07-18 05:15:52 GMT
Walter - I heard about a recall petition going around. Any news on that?
2008-07-18 05:18:21 GMT
Hmmm.... no not that I want to discuss here.

I don't know the details so it is better left to those organizing it to make any announcements. What I heard is people are waiting to see who on the council surrenders their official elected governmental powers to the McWhinneys in late August. I guess I couldn't resist but use the term "abdication" since that is the context where it was being used (on the petition).

At least that is what I heard so don't take it to the bank since nothing has been filed. Call I.T.A. and get the details.
2008-07-18 05:25:09 GMT
I hope that Johnson woman is included. Boy she makes me so angry.

The 2C campaign was wonderful so I hope you have recruited the same folks. They really did a bang-up job on that one!
2008-07-18 05:28:41 GMT
As much as this is objectionable and unethical, it would push Williams, Havner, and Mullinex out the door, all the top shelf good old boys would be gone in one fell swoop, giving the City the ability to as the above blogger points out, get some new blood, which would be cheaper to boot, and revitalize and hopefully professionalize the City Management. With a new management, it would also hopefully push out the second tier B team Williams has brought in, the hick boy Wensing from Windsor and the Queen of Mean Renee Wheeler, together they have managed to push out every valuable middle manager the City ever had. Napolian Reester of PW would still be there but hopefully minimized (pun intended) by a new management. That is the only danger, that his B team would be selected, hopefully with some brains now on Council that would be avoided. The down side is that the B team would be given the reins and we would just have a continuation of Williams' management albeit slightly more professional. By the way, the pre-existing condition that Rousey refers to his Williams’ diabetes that is self inflicted as a result of his weight and propensity for daily egg McMuffins for breakfast
2008-07-18 13:30:02 GMT
Its ironic that Williams who has spent a career as a rebulbikan bad mouthing government, although that is all he has ever done, he has not spent a minute in the private sector, is now expecting the public to foot the bill for his poor lifestyle choices. Not surprising that Rousey supports this since he is a man that can appreciate poor life style choices.
2008-07-18 14:43:12 GMT
At first I thought the diabetes comment was too far over the top but I thought about it some more. Williams wants us to pay his medical, according to that former city employee, when he retires early. If any pre-existing condition Rousey says he is concerned about is self-inflicted - why should we pay?

If indeed it is true, I wish him well in trying to control the condition. It is a tough thing to manage especially when he has the stress of running a large city organization. No one should make light of his condition. If untreated, he could lose a foot or go blind. No one should wish that on anyone no matter how he has abused his position or his health.

I wish him well but also believe a man of his means can afford private insurance. Kaiser Permanente is only around $500 to $600 per month for an entire family. It also has no upper limit in coverage so removing his foot and fitting a prosthesis will all be covered with a small co-pay.

2008-07-19 06:01:06 GMT
If any city employee has failing health they can retire on disability. Rousey is wrong when he implies they may need to retire for health reasons but not be covered.
2008-07-19 06:05:22 GMT
If any city employee has failing health they can retire on disability. Rousey is wrong when he implies they may need to retire for health reasons but not be covered.
2008-07-19 06:05:41 GMT
I just read the story on the bottom of the front page of this webpage about Staples Farm by the Loveland Connection.

If that us true, they are again deciding to screw us in secret when the law requires they meet in public.

I will sign the recall petition if you have one.
2008-07-19 21:04:42 GMT
Yes, we did remove the last comment for 3 reasons;

1. Use of profanity
2. No name or nick name attached
3. Making personally insulting comments about an individual that don't contribute in anyway to the discussion.
2008-07-21 05:41:38 GMT
If your rules apply equally this comment should be removed as well.

Your rules don't apply equally, however, so it won't be removed.


Its ironic that Williams who has spent a career as a rebulbikan bad mouthing government, although that is all he has ever done, he has not spent a minute in the private sector, is now expecting the public to foot the bill for his poor lifestyle choices. Not surprising that Rousey supports this since he is a man that can appreciate poor life style choices.
2008-07-18 14:43:12 GMT
2008-07-21 12:17:27 GMT
Sorry people, it's not about's about the person who picks up your trash or the person who repairs your street or the person who responds to your home in case of a's about anyone who may retiree and needs to continue with their current insurance until age 65.

And no, you can't retire and have health insurance under disability unless the job caused the disability....try to get disability payments or insurance for cancer, ms, etc.

2008-07-21 13:06:10 GMT
Funny you would protect someone that is the most personally insulting man I have ever met. A bully, a coward, hiding behind his title and power. Insulting everyone he has ever come in contact with. The most repulsive person I have ever had the displeasure of knowing. If its not about Williams then why was it proposed to run for only five years, just long enought for the good old boys to cash out. Good riddance, best thing that could ever happen, I say give it to them and get them and this Council out the door. Give Williams a new foot or what ever the he wants. How many people that pick up our trash exactly would be covered by this? Just get them all out of the City and bring in professional management. Get the developers and development interests off the Council and patseys for McWhinney like Rousey out. Get a recall petition going now.
2008-07-22 02:56:10 GMT
In terms of insult, here was Don Williams' assessment of the recent move of County employees out of downtown. He said good, now we won't have derelicts standing on the corner selling food stamps. Now that is not only wrong, the security measures now in place make that almost impossible, and against City policy, its incredibly insulting, especially if your family had ever had to rely on public assistance as had mine. On Roger Hoffman he said, we should gut him and hang him on the fence to scare the other Cayotee away. Now that is disrespectful, insulting and both comments said in public suring City business are contrary to City policy unless you are a bully City Manager. Rousey and most of the Coucil privately agree with these types of comments and so he gets away with them. These are only a few gems, there are many, many others. So go ahead and protect Don's good name and give him health insurance and get him the _________ out of town and out of the GMA,which is where he lives contray to the Charter.
2008-07-22 14:19:05 GMT
Are you saying he doesn't live within city limits as required by the Charter?
2008-07-24 13:33:02 GMT
No he doesn't but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Clark, Heckel and Johnson can't tie their shoe laces without help so it has been easy for him until now. He is telling people he wants to retire because of Cecil Gutierrez.
2008-07-26 01:56:08 GMT
Well that is very unkind. Williams hasn't really done the job of a city manager before he has been doing the McWhinneys job from city hall.

Retire doesn't really describe what it will mean if he leaves since he already abandoned the obligation of the job years ago. Finally stop taking a city salary to do the McWhinneys bidding would better describe his time at the post.

Either way, the people who really care about Loveland will rejoice the departure of this lazy sell-out.
--Rex Cormick
2008-07-27 14:00:11 GMT
FYI - the poor lifestyle comment above about Councilman Rousey isn't to question his orientation or anything like that. Everyone who works at the city knows he is a chain smoker.

It is unfortunate that he will likely be suffering lung problems way too early in life as a result of this ongoing madness of smoking 5 packs each day. It is also a tragedy those costly medical interventions will be at the city's expense.
2008-07-27 14:05:33 GMT
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