Monday, February 15, 2010

Apex officials eliminate coverage of elective abortions and regulate employees morals

The Apex Town Council recently took on the hot topic of regulating morality of women town employees and family members when Mayor Keith Weatherly quietly introduced an unadvertised item at the beginning of the January 19, 2010, Council meeting. The Mayor's fast tracked item was intended to eliminate coverage for elective abortions for employees and family members from Town provided health insurance. By slipping the item into the agenda, the Mayor virtually insured (no pun intended) the change would pass through the Council approval process without allowing community input on the change. This raises the question as to whether Mr. Weatherly should be allowed to continue as the Town's Mayor.

The Mayor introduced the change into the Council approval process after learning about past cases of elective abortions from his Cary friend Kent Misegades, also a director at the new Thales Academy and a founder of the controversial Cary Watchmen. Mayor Weatherly in effect decided it was appropriate for the Council to regulate employee morality and introduced the proposal to remove coverage from the Town provided insurance package that historically allowed women employees to have an elective abortion when needed. It was also done in a manner to not allow input from Town residents. Introducing the change in this manner the Mayor was able to fast track getting the change quietly added to the agenda with other items to pass on the night it was introduced. This avoided the accepted practice of advertising topics being considered by Town Council to area residents in advance of the voting process.

This controversial move has set off a storm of discussion in the surrounding area and has now led to other regional municipal groups debating insurance coverage of elective abortions and morality based issues. No other local municipalities deny similar coverage for employees to date. According to a recent News and Observer article on the Apex issue, there have only been three cases of Apex Town employees choosing to have an elective abortion. No information has been provided as to whether the choice of abortion made a difference to the health or well-being of the employees.

As noted in the February 6th, 2010, News and Observer article, "Apex's health insurance policy has for years afforded employees the benefit of having the procedure covered at a minimal out-of-pocket expense. During the past six years, three employees have claimed the benefit, town manager Bruce Radford said."

The proposal was quietly slipped into the meeting agenda as noted in the Council's minutes on the Town website...
Apex Town Council Meeting Minutes of January 19, 2010
Mayor Weatherly presented the Regular Meeting Agenda to be set prior to taking action; amendments: 1) Mayor Weatherly asked to discuss town employee health plan...
One of the Councilmen suggested putting the topic under the regular agenda items and the proposal was inserted in the regular agenda items section. When the topic later came up Mayor Weatherly presented the idea of removing elective abortions from the Town employee insurance plan as follows...
Presenter: Mayor Keith Weatherly
New Business # 04 – Add-on: Employee Health Plan
Mayor Weatherly had recently found Town of Apex employee health plan covered “elective abortions”, and understood it standard in most contracts, however, asked Council consider removing “elective abortions” from employee health plan, and not when it relates to health related issues. Human Resources Director Green stated this was correct; noted codes would indicate when abortion would be health related. Town is self funded, with Blue Cross and Blue Shield as administrator over the insurance coverage; BCBS advised the revision could be made to the Town’s contract to state the insurance coverage will no longer fund elective abortions and can have the coverage revision by February 1, 2010. With a brief discussion the following action was taken.
Action: Council Member Schulze made the motion to approve the omission of elective abortions from the town employee health plan. Council Member Gossage made the second to the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
End of New Business # 04
Read the January 19, 2010 Town Council Minutes. News and Observer February 6, 2010, report on the Apex issue from the News and Observer can be read here.

What's your view? Should the Town of Apex be in the business of excluding elective abortions and regulating decisions on health care for the women employees or family members covered by Town health insurance? Is this discriminatory toward women employees? Leave a comment to voice your decision.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

OK... who wants a Lego set?

Lots of folks lined up for Lego's Christmas 2009.
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Monday, February 1, 2010

Looking toward warmer days

The cold days of winter in North Carolina give us all reason to look forward to the warmer days of spring and summer.

This view of a beach home along the coast at Emerald Isle gives us reason to think the cold will soon go away and we will be able to get out and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine before long.
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