So, I just got this document from a source, who didn’t want to be named. It purportedly shows that the county Board of Supervisors, in 1970, promised health care benefits to all employees and retirees. The county has maintained that it never made such a promise and therefore could unilaterally pull away the health care benefits it’s been paying for years. That, of course, is exactly what the Board of Supervisors is advocating now.

I don’t know what to make of the document but I have a call in to County Counsel John Sansone and others to see what they think of it.

Update: Bill Smith, a lawyer in the County Counsel’s Office, who has been working on this issue, called in with some perspective on the document. He said look on Page 9:

“I think what this says is — and like I said I don’t think this is binding anyhow — if you retired, you are entitled to participate in the group plan but you have to pay your own premium.”

And Smith reiterated the county’s position that health care payments simply are not vested retirement benefits.

“It has always been considered a discretionary benefit,” Smith said.

SCOTT LEWIS

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