Judge finds Medford in contempt over retiree insurance

Circuit Court Judge Mark Schiveley has found the city of Medford in contempt for failing to provide insurance to retired employees.

The city will be fined $100 a day starting Nov. 1 because it hasn't obeyed 2009 court orders that required the insurance coverage.

In his ruling on Monday, Schiveley said the city has resisted the court orders from 2009 that retired city employees are entitled to bridge health insurance until they reach age 65. The retirees would pay the same premiums as city employees.

In February, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled the city of Medford must provide health benefits to its retirees, or prove it is unable to do so.

In addition, other lawsuits, led by Medford's former City Attorney Ron Doyle and former employee Joseph Bova have been winding their separate ways through state and federal courtrooms for nearly six years.

The courts have treated the two cases differently because Doyle was retired when he filed the legal action, while Bova was still employed with the city.

City officials have estimated 104 management employees and 190 other union employees would foot the $1.5 million annual increase to support a proposed insurance plan that would cover the retirees. In addition, the city itself would pay $290,000.

In the ruling Monday, Schiveley said the city's attempts so far to come up with a plan have been insufficient.

— Damian Mann

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