The relationship between now former Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and the outgoing county commission ended the same way it has existed for years; full of contention. In Luttrell’s last official act before leaving office Friday night he vetoed a resolution reducing eligibility requirements for retiring county workers to receive life and health insurance. Local 24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view.
The commission passed the resolution last week during the final meeting for eight members who are leaving office because of term limits. They dropped the insurance eligibility from 15 years to 8 years, which means those commissioners who are leaving after serving two 4-year terms can receive the lucrative perk.
Luttrell and commissioners have waged public disputes over a host of issues including appointment of an outside attorney to represent the commission, how best to fight the opioid crisis, and taxes. In nearly every case, there was enough blame to go around.
But this time, Luttrell was absolutely correct to issue a veto. Changing insurance requirements so drastically was ill thought out and self-serving. It would have put the county up to $10-million in the hole next year, and would have saddled incoming mayor Lee Harris with a tough budget issue right off the bat.
Three returning commissioners; Reginald Milton, Willie Brooks, and Van Turner; voted for the resolution. Here’s hoping they now have a change of heart and won’t pursue this costly benefit any further.