A move by some members of the Harahan City Council to give themselves city-paid health insurance appears to be doomed.
A motion to override Mayor Tina Miceli’s veto of an ordinance that would have provided coverage to council members is still on a draft agenda for Thursday’s meeting, but the four votes it needs to pass look increasingly out of reach.
Councilwoman Susan Benton, who was absent when the ordinance passed 3-1 last month, said Friday that she would not support it, and Councilman Craig Johnston, who voted against it the first time, said he still objects.
“This amounts to a 50 percent increase in compensation (for the council), and I just don’t think it’s deserved,” Benton said.
Proponents argue that other cities offer health benefits to council members, but Benton said plenty do not and that the ones that do have bigger budgets and a higher median income than Harahan.
Echoing comments made by Miceli before the veto, Benton said Harahan has serious budget issues it needs to deal with first.
“I just don’t think we’re in a position to provide that for the council,” she said.
Councilman Tim Baudier, a supporter of the ordinance, said Friday he has decided not to push the issue and would rather direct his energy to helping increase funding for the police and fire departments and to “make Harahan great again.”
The insurance issue flared up last month when the council found out that an order issued in 2013 by then-Mayor Vinnie Mosca extending benefits to the council needed to be done by ordinance, setting up the vote.
Baudier and Councilwomen Carrie Wheeler and Dana Huete voted in favor.
Also on Thursday, the council is expected to vote on Miceli’s nomination of Michael Mullin as Harahan’s next city attorney.
Mullin, who lives in River Ridge, just retired after almost 20 years as an assistant parish attorney for Plaquemines Parish. His nomination comes with a letter of recommendation from Jefferson Parish Attorney Deborah Foshee.
Mullin’s biography says he has advised three parish presidents, provided legal supervision for public works projects and has experience with bond and insurance reviews, public bids, legislative auditor compliance issues and FEMA.
His Belle Chasse law practice focuses on business litigation, lender representation and personal injury.
Mullin would replace Thomas Anzelmo, who resigned abruptly last month as the debate over the insurance issue heated up. The official reason for his departure was “time constraints.”
He had replaced Steven London, who resigned in April saying the job was demanding more time than he could afford to take away from his private practice.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.