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An analysis of Robideaux's benefits presentation - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

An analysis of Robideaux's benefits presentation

Posted: Updated:
Mayor-president Joel Robideaux Mayor-president Joel Robideaux

UPDATE: After this story was posted, LCG reached out to us to clarify some points below. We've made a correction, as well, you'll see that in bold italics.

Earlier this week, Mayor-President Joel Robideaux responded to growing concerns about the way a slain police officer's family has been treated with a presentation to the City-Parish Council about what they will receive. 

To read our story about that, click here

Robideaux followed up with a lengthy Facebook post in which he said that the "claim" that LCG has failed the family are false, and demanded an apology to the community.

"It is deeply frustrating that certain people have chosen to spread falsehoods through both traditional and social media, resulting in national headlines claiming our parish does not support the families of our own fallen officers," the post states. "This is obviously not true and the people spreading these lies know it."

Robideaux is responding to stories done by KATC and other media about Adrienne Middlebrook and her children. Middlebrook's husband, Cpl. Michael Middlebrook, was shot to death while responding to a call for help from convenience store employees who had been shot in a robbery. Days after his death, his wife was notified that, if she wanted to continue with the LCG health insurance her husband had, she would have to accept the retiree premium - a 125% increase of the original premium - before the deadline for benefits on October 21. Her attorney said she had repeatedly asked to discuss the situation with LCG but never received a response to those requests. 

Adrienne Middlebrook requested to maintain her health insurance at the rate it was before her husband's death. It's a request LCG denied. A spokesperson for LCG tells us the administration is still working on a resolution, but no one will say why the request from Middlebrook's widow was denied. 

To read our story about that, click here

In his Facebook post, Robideaux provided the following figures: 

"In total, a surviving spouse can expect to receive in excess of $3.4 million in benefits with LCG providing over $2.7 million of that amount (see slide below). Of this amount, the spouse would receive about $700,000 up front and the rest in monthly payments over their lifetime. So, the notion families are left to fend for themselves is simply and utterly false."

KATC Investigates analyzed the figures he provided, and asked some questions of the administration about them. You'll see Robideaux's post's statements below, followed by details we obtained in underlined italics.

1. Monthly payments are made to LCG surviving spouses for the rest of their lives in order for them to pay bills and provide for any additional monthly expenses associated with the tragedy:

- An LCG surviving spouse receives 100% of the fallen officer's salary every year for life. A survivor to 80 would receive $2.5 million from this benefit alone.

- Additionally, and on top of the salary payment above, they also receive:

• 65% of the fallen officer's salary every year until their children reach age 18 (or 23 if in school).
• Once their children "age out", the surviving spouse receives 32.5% of the fallen officer's salary every year for life or until they remarry.

Neither of these payments are made directly by LCG. The first, monthly payments are made through Louisiana's retirement system for police officers. Lafayette Police officers are members of this system, with employees making a 10% contribution, and LCG making a 30% contribution while they are working. The second,payments noted are made by a worker's compensation insurance policy, which also includes a funeral benefit. This policy premium is paid by LCG, but the pay-outs are not paid by LCG. LCG clarifies that the worker's comp payouts are self-funded to a cap of $1.5 million. That means that payments made to the families by the worker's comp administrator are reimbursed by LCG until the amount reaches $1.5 million. In other words, while LCG is not making a direct payment to the families, LCG is paying the administrator back for every payment until those payments reach the total of $1.5 million.

2. LCG also makes a one-time lump sum payment to a surviving spouse to spend or invest however they deem appropriate. LCG pays the surviving spouse two times the fallen officer's salary. For example, a $50,000 salary would result in a $100,000 payment. (This is double what Baton Rouge offers and 10 times what Alexandria and Lake Charles offer)

This payment is not made by LCG. This is the payout from a life insurance policy that LCG provides to all of its employees. LCG pays the premiums.

3. A surviving spouse would receive additional government payments as follows:

• The State of Louisiana pays the surviving spouse a one-time lump sum of $250,000 plus $25,000 per child.
• The United States pays the surviving spouse a one-time lump sum of $350,000.

As noted, these payments are not made by LCG, but by the federal and state governments. 

Finally, as it relates to health insurance -- LCG provides lower health insurance premiums than other municipalities both during the officer's life and then again for the surviving spouse and children.

Baton Rouge government employees do have higher insurance premiums; Baton Rouge has a population of more than 228,000 compared to Lafayette's 127,000. There's another difference: Baton Rouge allows surviving family members to pay a special "survivor" rate, which is only 15 percent higher than the amount paid by an active employee and family, records show. Robideaux's chart indicates that the Baton Rouge rate is $866 compared to LCG's $676 rate for a surviving family - which is LCG's retiree rate. What is not included is the difference between the survivor rate for Baton Rouge and the employee rate for Baton Rouge: $866 compared to $738, or an increase of only 15 percent. The difference between LCG's retiree rate and employee rate is 125 percent.

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