City aldermen’s actions, behavior shameful

Published 1:06 am Thursday, September 15, 2016

Natchez city aldermen should be ashamed of both the actions taken and their own poor behavior shown at Tuesday’s meeting.

Insults and accusations of aldermen allegedly being “wined and dined” into choosing a particular insurance company for the city’s coverage flew.

In the end, the city may have missed a chance to save nearly $1 million on health insurance premiums.

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The insults and accusations are simply inexcusable. If a person on the board knows of wrongdoing by another member, he or she has an obligation to report it publicly. Knowing of unethical behavior and not exposing that behavior makes the person negligently complicit.

Aldermen seemed to ignore an insurance company that brought forth a proposal the company claims could save the city approximately $900,000 in annual premiums. That is baffling.

One of the aldermen who voted for the renewal of the agreement with the firm already handling the city’s insurance cited a sense of urgency to get the renewal completed.

That is a sorry excuse for not spending a few minutes to listen, understand and weigh the merits of all proposals.

Who knows if the $900,000 in potential savings is real or just a number thrown out by a salesman to garner attention?

Regardless, the potential savings was substantial enough for the six aldermen to at least consider the option.

We find it unfathomable that the city does not take a more definitive approach to obtaining proposals or bids for a service as important — and expensive — as providing health care coverage for city employees.

City leaders would be wise to rescind their hasty Tuesday vote and listen to any and all qualified proposals to determine what is best for the city.

Just like the aldermen’s rapid decision on selecting a city attorney — a decision that reeked of prior discussion among some on the board — the choice for the city’s health insurance needs to be more carefully considered.