Madison County commissioners may allow two Northern Judicial Circuit juvenile court judges onto the county’s insurance plan offered to employees, with the four other counties in the circuit pitching in to cover the cost.
Christopher NeSmith, presiding juvenile court judge for the Northern Judicial Circuit, addressed the BOC Dec. 30 saying that he received a letter informing him that his current insurance would be canceled as of Jan. 31. He asked the board to consider allowing both he and fellow circuit juvenile judge Warren Caswell onto the county’s insurance plan. Both NeSmith and Caswell are Madison County residents and state law calls for juvenile judges seeking insurance benefits to do so in their home county.
NeSmith noted that his work is over 30 hours a week in the five-county circuit.
Commissioners seemed receptive to the proposal, but they wanted specifics on how much the plan would cost if all other counties pitched in to help cover the premiums.
County finance director Kathy Clark said the county pays $5,484 per year for each employee receiving insurance coverage. If the BOC approves the measure, that cost would be divided by each of the counties the judges serve based on population. Commissioner Jim Escoe asked what would happen if other counties refused to chip in. County attorney Mike Pruett said the other counties would be legally bound to help cover the insurance cost of the judges serving them.
The BOC agreed to discuss the matter again at the group’s Jan. 6 meeting. A more detailed cost breakdown will be provided at that meeting.
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