North Tahoe officials mum on domestic partner vote fallout |

North Tahoe officials mum on domestic partner vote fallout

Kevin MacMillan / North Lake Tahoe Bonanza

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. ” Members of the Incline Village General Improvement District are restraining comment about the Board of Trustees’ decision last week to disallow domestic partner benefits for district employees.

IVGID General Manager Bill Horn said the district is considering discussing the issue at its next meeting on March 11, but reserved any other comment.

“Right now (IVGID legal counsel) Scott Brooke is analyzing what took place last August, what took place last week and what could happen (on March 11),” Horn said. “At this point, that’s all we’re commenting on.”

Horn said he and IVGID Board Chair Ted Fuller decided this week that Horn, Fuller and Brooke would be the only district representatives to comment on the issue.

Fuller, who is on vacation in Mexico this week, could not be reached for comment.

“The newspaper has made a controversial issue … and we decided that either he (Fuller) or I be the spokesperson on this issue,” Horn said. “The appropriate thing is to make a story out of this on March 11.”

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The story first was published on on Feb. 26.

In a Tuesday phone interview, Brooke decline to comment on Horn’s comments.

“I’ll do what I’m asked to do by the board,” Brooke said. “I don’t have any other comment.”

Brooke could not confirm if the issue will be on the Wednesday, March 11, IVGID Board of Trustees agenda. That meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at 893 Southwood Blvd. Susan Herron, IVGID’s administrative assistant, said the March 11 IVGID BOT agenda should be made public by Friday morning.

Last Wednesday, Feb. 25, Fuller and IVGID trustees Gene Brockman and John Bohn voted in favor of rescinding benefits for domestic partners, while trustees Chuck Weinberger and Bea Epstein voted to keep benefits available for them.

The question came before the board at a trustees meeting August 27, 2008, not long after the district’s insurance provider ” St. Mary’s Preferred Health Insurance ” decided to offer health insurance benefits to domestic partners.

At that meeting, Bohn and Brockman were out-voted by Epstein, Weinberger and former trustee Bob Wolf to begin offering benefits to domestic partners.

At Wednesday’s meeting, another vote took place on Bohn’s request, which reversed last year’s decision.

According to IVGID financial research, the move could save the district about $1,500 in benefits expenses, the estimated amount the district would pay through the end of the fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2009. The district is looking to cut 5 percent from its $47 million budget for the next fiscal year, staff has said.

Lois Paynter, senior director of operations for St. Mary’s, said the insurance company never has had an instance of someone trying to abuse the domestic partner portion of its policy.

“No, no, no, no, no,” Paynter said. “It’s never happened. There’s a specific set of rules they (domestic partners) have to follow to apply for insurance, and they have to follow those rules.”

Horn, who directed members of his staff not to comment on the issue, said he could not comment on the procedures IVGID follows or has followed in regards to employees’ domestic partners applying for health benefits.