By Molly Davis Staff Writer
Posted: 07/07/2011 07:33:49 PM PDT

REDLANDS – City Council members will continue to have the option of receiving health-care benefits after a resolution to withdraw their participation in a benefits program failed to pass.

The item, brought forth by Councilman Jerry Bean at the Tuesday council meeting, would have ended medical insurance benefits through the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, for council members.

“I am profoundly disappointed,” Bean said after his motion failed.

He first brought the idea of discontinuing health benefits for council members for discussion in November. The council did agree to eliminate dental, vision and life insurance benefits that month.

But health-care benefits are still available to council members at a rate of $397 per month until the end of 2014.

Council members only receive health benefits if they elect to have coverage. Only one of the current council members has elected to receive health insurance benefits.

“(The City Council) is not a job,” Bean said. “Anyone running for office should bring their own benefits.”

Bean said he saw his role as a council member as no different than other volunteers in the city who donate their time without receiving any benefits.

“I (don’t) see why the members of the City Council should be any different than any of the other countless volunteers,” he said.

But his idea didn’t go over well with other council members or community members.

“I don’t like the idea that any person serving on the council has to be independently wealthy,” said community member Stephen Fraser, who also said it could restrict who is able to run for council.

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