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Warren Mayor Nixes Lifetime Health Benefits for City Council Members

‘If they want to, they can take me to court’

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said Thursday he has vetoed a resolution passed in September that would allow City Council members to have lifetime health insurance for themselves and their dependents.

Fouts said the matter could come up at a Tuesday meeting of the City Council, which has the authority to override mayoral vetoes if four of the seven council members approve. Fouts called his veto "symbolic" because it would have had to happened with 72 hours of when the resolution was originally passed. But Fouts said he was never notified by the City Council and claimed they intentionally kept him in the dark to avoid a veto.

He said if the City Council accepts his veto, it would take effect at the end of that week.

“That [free lifetime healthcare for the City Council] will never happen,” Fouts said in a phone interview.

Fouts said the City Council violated the law because the city has made an agreement with the state of Michigan that any change to the city’s liabilities for retirement benefits has to be actuarially reviewed. Fouts said that did not happen.

A message to the state’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget was not immediately returned.

“I issued an order that we would never implement this. It was dead on arrival,” Fouts said. “If they want to, they can take me to court.”

Fouts said that to make sure this type of situation doesn’t occur, any type of changes to City Council benefits has to be hand-delivered to the mayor’s office. Fouts said the City Council members purposely didn’t notify him of their resolution in September so it could avoid the 72-hour window the mayor had to veto it.