by Brad Schrade in today’s Tennessean
uncovers a little known—but very valuable—perk that our Metro council members receive: a lifetime supply of taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for their entire families. The article referenced a vote cast by the council earlier this year lowering the number of years of service necessary for a member to receive the benefit.
This allowed former member Adam Dread to take part in the health plan for the rest of his life. Dread technically didn’t qualify for it because his first term in office came as a fill-in for Ronnie Steine, who abandoned his seat in disgrace after being arrested for shoplifting.
Schrade’s article—and a headline that reads “Councilman Dread pressed to get benefits”—make it sound as if the legislation was created especially for Dread, an insinuation Dread fervently denies.
“I wasn’t even on the council when the legislation was passed,” Dread says. He calls the article “a personal attack” and that he and Schrade have traded barbs in person. Dread also points out that five current council members
who voted for this rule change will
will be term limited out in the next election but weren't mentioned in the article.
Here's the email Dread sent us outlining what he views as misstatements by Schrade and the Tennessean
. It’s written in call and response form and very entertaining.
"Brad was off base on a lot of it," Dread says, before writing...
1. “Dread, who was an at-large member, was the outgoing councilman behind the law change earlier this year.” Bullshit. It effects 5 council members rolling off, not just me, I’m just the only one mentioned.
2. “Compounding his problem was a stroke he had in 2003, which he says makes him uninsurable.” If I become uninsurable, then I am potentially a 100% liability of the taxpayers. The $371 per month I pay is what I could purchase a policy for, were I insurable.
3. Further, the $371 that I pay to Metro per month is after taxes, not deducted pre-tax (like an active council member). Were I to pay the non-member rate of $1,300 per month, after taxes, that would require me to earn over $24,000 just to pay for the insurance, almost $10,000 more than the annual salary of a councilman.
4. “Nashville's 40-member part-time legislative body” Bullshit again. The job wasn’t (and still isn’t) part-time. It’s full-time, plus. I got calls and emails 24/7, and still get several a day and still help the folks who call.
5. “…said someone in Metro told him he would be able to continue receiving subsidized insurance after he left office.” What Brad left out here was that that information came from the person in charge of that program, and that I checked twice to confirm. Further, they advised me to move my family to the program. I refused to give Brad their name, as they made an honest mistake. They had never had a term-limited councilman ask that question before.