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Article updated: 4/4/2013 12:01 PM

Hoffman Estates candidate defends use of village health insurance

By Jessica Cilella

Hoffman Estates mayoral candidate Ray Kincaid has willingly acknowledged that he uses the health insurance offered to him through the village after a resident made note of the fact at a recent board meeting.

He said he believes he is getting better coverage for the cost through the village than getting it elsewhere. "It's something that was offered and I'm using it," Kincaid said.

Kincaid currently serves as village trustee. He and his wife are self-employed, as they own a travel agency.

During the public comments portion of the March 18 village board meeting, resident Robert Steinberg brought up the fact that Kincaid is the only trustee to take advantage of the insurance.

"I wasn't aware that none of the other trustees were taking the insurance," said Kincaid, who has stressed the importance of the village being fiscally conservative throughout his campaign.

Village Manager Jim Norris told Steinberg that just like part-time employees, elected officials are eligible for the benefit. He said after the official has been in office for four years, the village pays for single coverage and the official makes up the difference if they want a larger plan.

Steinberg asked how many hours a village worker must put in to be labeled part time and Norris said a minimum of 20 per week.

"I just found it odd that only Trustee Kincaid is taking advantage of this and none of the other trustees chose to do so -- which I'm happy as a taxpayer that I don't have to pay for someone else's health insurance because being a trustee isn't a full-time job," Steinberg said.

While Mayor William McLeod didn't raise the issue, he did make sure after the meeting that a reporter knew the issue came up.

He also posted "Trustee Ray Kincaid is the only elected official in Hoffman Estates drawing village paid health insurance costing over $6,000 a year ..." on his Twitter account on March 27.

"If you're this big fiscal conservative why are you getting your health care through the village?" McLeod said when asked to comment a day after the tweet. "I'm not saying he's not entitled to it. I'm just saying no one else (other trustees) has done it."

According to village documents, health insurance through the village for Kincaid will cost $6,081 in 2013. Kincaid said he believes he is paying about a third of that, meaning taxpayers are not picking up the whole cost.

Kincaid added that he has already committed to donating 50 percent of his mayoral salary to nonprofit organizations if he is elected. The budgeted mayoral salary for 2013 is $24,999.96.

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