homepage logo

Cape to extend family medical benefits to domestic partners

By Staff | Dec 5, 2017

The city of Cape Coral will now extend family medical benefits to the domestic partners of employees, as well as their dependents.

Cape Coral City Council approved the measure Monday.

As with existing family coverage, costs will be paid by employees opting for the insurance for a partner, same sex or not, or other qualified dependent.

Assistant City Manager Mike Ilczyszyn told the Council that city staff got together with the city’s benefit broker, Gehring Group and did a survey with similar Florida municipalities. The analysis found that of the 17 surveyed, seven offered benefits to domestic partners.

Of those seven, an average of four employees enrolled their partners for benefit eligibility. Most of those municipalities have hosted this eligibility for more than five years, Ilczyszyn wrote in a memo to City Manager John Szerlag last week.

Ilczyszyn concluded that after inquiring with all providers of medical, dental and vision benefits, domestic partnership would not impact current premium rates.

The resolution pass 7-0 with Councilmember Rick Williams abstaining, as he is in relationship with a woman that would qualify as a domestic partnership. He said that many people establish domestic partnerships for financial reasons, especially when they get older.

City staff will establish criteria for domestic partners, which are people of the same or opposite sex with whom the employee has established a domestic partnership.

The requirements are expected to include being at least 18 years old, not married, that the partnership was not obtained illegally, a shared residence and common necessities of life, and consider themselves to be part of the same family, among other requirements.

The state of Florida does not require municipalities to offer benefits to domestic partners.

In other business, Councilmember Marilyn Stout proposed that the city look deeper into Chapter 26 of the city charter regarding the Cape’ municipal charter schools and make changes so that financial mistakes that have happened in the past don’t happen again.

She also proposed they once again open the superintendent position to a national search.

“Past superintendents didn’t do this even when the controls weren’t in place. Let’s work on Chapter 26 so this doesn’t happen again,” Stout said. “If we don’t know what happened, history will repeat itself.”

Mayor Joe Coviello said he likes the job current interim superintendent, Jacqueline Collins, is doing.

“I believe when you promote, you should do it from within. Collins seems to be doing a good job and things seem to be on the right track,” Coviello said. “I want to revisit Chapter 26 and revamp it. The schools have done well, but we need to look at them.”

Also, the City Council unanimously passed the ground lease for the future Cape Coral Animal Shelter and the uniform method for collection of non-ad valorem assessments.

Council named individuals to various committees and councils. Isaac Burgos, Gary Colley, Wayne Moomjian and Thomas Phillips were reappointed, while William Jospeh was named a new member of the Construction Regulation Board.

The Golf Course Advisory Board renamed Ronald Frey, Mark Selby, Sr. and Jay Woodall; and Jesus Rodriguez Concepcion of Ida Baker High School was named to the Youth Council.

The city also recognized this year’s graduates of the Citizen’s Academy, its winning of the Digital Cities award and Fire Chief Donald Cochran, who will be retiring from the Cape Coral Fire Department after 27 years of service, four as fire chief.